Tony Blair speaks from Dreamland. By Katherine Baldwin for Reuters, with thanks to James:
DUBAI (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Tony Blair will call on Wednesday for Middle East states to rein in what he calls the threat from Iran and to help advance peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians.
Speaking in the United Arab Emirates, he will underline what has been the theme of his Middle East tour: moderate leaders must be empowered against extremists.
“We must recognize the strategic threat the government of Iran poses, not its people, not possibly all of its ruling elements, but those presently in charge of its policy,” he will say, according to extracts of his speech released by his office.
Iran seeks “to pin us back in Lebanon, in Iraq and in Palestine,” he will tell business leaders in Dubai.
“Our response should be to expose what they are doing, build the alliances to prevent it and pin them back across the whole of the region.”
He says to do this “we need the open and clear backing of the countries in this region that know better than me what is happening and why.”
Blair’s spokesman dismissed suggestions his comments on Iran were designed to pit the region’s Sunni Muslims against Shi’ite Iran, saying the prime minister worked with all faiths.