MI6 boss ‘visited Israeli Prime Minister to urge against attacking Iran’


The head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, paid a visit to Israel’s Prime Minister to urge him not to back strikes against Iran, it was reported last night.

Sir John Sawers, head of the Secret Intelligence Service

Sir John paid a personal visit to Benjamin Netanyahu to appeal to the leader to hold fire after he appeared to be impatient over the UK and US’s approach towards Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his nuclear programme.

Yesterday, Mr Netanyahu said the US did not have the “moral right” to stop Israel from taking action against Iran, where he is concerned by a number of nuclear sites.

“The world tells Israel to wait because there is still time,” he said. “And I ask: Wait for what? Until when? Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

 It was understood Sir John met with Mr Netanyahu and his defence minister Ehud Barak to insist it was still possible that diplomatic and economic sanctions could work.

According to the Daily Mail, Sir John also suggested enforcing the sanctions more rigorously in an unusual diplomatic visit.

Last week, Ahmadinejad admitted international trade restrictions had affected the country’s economy.

There was speculation that Israel could use the opportunity of the US election to strike, while the future of the US Government is up in the air.

Iran has threatened to attack US bases in the Persian Gulf if Israel bombs its nuclear facilities.

Mr Netanyahu added: “If Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing. It’s continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining a nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs.”

Downing Street, the Foreign Office, the British embassy in Israel and Mr Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem would not confirm Sir John’s visit.

A security source told the newspaper: “We would never discuss his travel plans or the reasons for it.”

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