Former Conservative minister Liam Fox has called for “maximum pressure” to be put on the Iranian government and a “redoubling of efforts on sanctions” in response to the growing threat of Tehran developing a nuclear bomb.

The ex-trade and defence secretary told a panel discussion of his consistent opposition to the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) Iran signed in 2015 alongside China, France, Russia, the UK, the US, Germany and the European Union.

Confirming his objection to the deal, which ex-US President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018, Fox said:”I was opposed to the JCPOA for a number of reasons… It effectively delayed rather than stopped Iran from getting a nuclear bomb by 15 years. ”

The Tory MP said it also allowed Iran to make a “rapid breakout” if it wasn’t happy and failed to deal with Tehran’s dubious “regional activity.”

He also said the JCPOA “lifted sanctions too quickly” and also gave the regime money which it used to fund dubious projects.

Fox also said that the UK needs to discuss what role it plays as a nuclear-armed ally of Israel should the current Vienna talks collapse and diplomatic options be removed from the table.

“I am pessimistic,” said Fox, of the currently situation, with reports that Iran is stockpiling enriched uranium supplies at an increasingly high purity level – just below that needed for the creation of a nuclear bomb.

Fox said this poor position was “largely of our own making” and he called for a need to “redouble our efforts on sanctions and maintain maximum pressure on Iran and those who do business with Iran.”

Fox’s comments were made during a panel entitled “Israel Showdown Over Nuclear Iran” – moderated by Lord Stuart Polak – which also included former Australian Labor Party MP Michael Danby, former Labour MP Mike Gapes and former Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev.

“We are at a worrying moment,” said Regev. “I’m worried and I think many Israelis are as we speak.”

He said the “most difficult hurdle” to overcome was with the stockpiling of uranium, which left Iran “just weeks away from having a bomb.” Although Regev conceded that Iran were further away at developing weapons delivery systems that were effective.

Regev said he was concerned that with issues such as Ukraine and the massing of Russian troops on its border, and elsewhere with China, there was concern that the international community was not focused on the situation in Iran.

But striking a different note was Mike Gapes, the former Labour MP, who had quit the party alongside Luciana Berger and other in February 2019.

Gapes said he believed the Trump administrations withdraw from the JCPOA to be a “serious error.” The move, he said, had allowed Iran to operate without constraint.

He added:”The context we are dealing with today is worse than if the JCPOA had continued.”

Source » timesofisrael