Iran dominates the British media this morning, with the revelation that Iran is seeking longer-range missiles which could reach Europe. The assessment, given to MPs following Cabinet briefings from MI6 chief Sir John Sawers and National Security Advisor Sir Kim Darroch. According to the Times, the ministers were briefed using material with ‘strap’ classification, reserved for the particularly sensitive information. The Guardian notes that this is the first explicit warning that Iran could endanger the UK. According to the Daily Express, David Cameron told the Commons Liaison Committee yesterday that ‘nothing is off the table’, and that Iran needs to make a ‘big change’ ahead of new six-power talks over its nuclear programme, a development reported by the BBC. The Daily Telegraph reports that President Obama has hit back at critics who derided his sanctions-lead approach as ‘reticent’ and ‘naïve’, challenging them to ‘explain to the American people why they would [launch a war] and what the consequences would be. Everything else is just talk.’ Writing in the Daily Mail, Max Hastings paints a gloomy picture of the fall-out of military action against Iran, with predictions of ‘an open-ended conflict between Iran and the West’, and surging oil prices. The Independent‘s leader writer urges President Obama to ‘hold his nerve’, and avoid war. In other news, the Guardian‘s Harriet Sherwood reports from Gaza, with Hamas stating that they ‘would not get involved’ in a military confrontation between Israel and Iran. Relations between Teheran and Hamas have cooled in recent months over Hamas’ refusal to support the Assad regime in Syria.
The Israeli media assesses the flurry of diplomatic activity in Washington over the last few days. According to Ma’ariv, Prime Minister Netanyahu convinced President Obama to speed up the timetable for exhausting the diplomatic route and of the need to prepare for military action. Ha’aretz assesses that the US will ‘look favourably’ on Israeli requests for the sale of GBU-28 ‘bunker buster’ bombs and upgraded refuelling capabilities. Yisrael Hayom quotes National Security Advisor Ya’akov Amidror, who said that the main achievement of the visit was for both sides to clarify their position to the other. According to Alex Fishman in Yediot Ahronot, Hamas has established a new terror wing in Gaza, the ostensibly independent ‘Defenders of al-Aqsa’, with the intention of continuing the movement’s terrorist activity whilst its political wing adopts an outwardly more moderate stance. Ynet also reports the comments by Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil that the organisation ‘won’t do Iran’s bidding’ in a war with Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports the arrest of an Indian man in connection with the attempted attack on Israeli diplomats in New Delhi last month. Israel Radio notes comments by President Sarkozy that he will advance a European peace initiative if re-elected.