He backed military action all over the world by two American Presidents. But Tony Blair has been seen of late as not being willing to stand toe-toe with president GW Bush on Iran.
The EU seems to prefer diplomatic efforts - so for that mater does the white house - and most of the world. Iran's leadership knows this - and is enjoying pushing the envelope with inflammatory rhetoric; But reports like this send a mixed message to those seeking a common front on dealing with Tehran.
" TONY Blair has told George Bush that Britain cannot offer military support to any strike on Iran, regardless of whether the move wins the backing of the international community, government sources claimed yesterday. " BRIAN BRADY WESTMINSTER EDITOR for the Scottsman reports.
But the lack of support for any Military action does not mean the UK is backing away from other forms of pressure.
" Blair is expected to support the call for a "Chapter 7" resolution, which could effectively isolate Iran from the international community." Brady writes on.
Sanctions could work two ways - Iran is awash with Oil cash with the Iraqi oil fields out of reach and most Oil prices in the world rising with each new car sold in china! This winter analysts predict the prices of oil will rise further.
Its not the fault of China that capitalism has brought prosperity - a reduction in the number of un-fuel friendly SUV's by even twenty per cent in the USA could bring down the level of Oil prices faster than new oil fields, so , superego's downsizing needs to be the first order of business to keep fuel prices down.
Imagine the impact of a major airstrips or tension in Iran reaching a boiling point - Oil is currently hovering around $30 a barrel- try - to imagine Oil per barrel at $55 a barrel or higher if a major conflict were to engulf the gulf anew.
Perhaps knowing this - leaders in Iran are rattling the sabers a bit- to get a higher price for their primary export. Meanwhile Russia and more importantly China are expected to not offer cooperation if Iran is targeted more closely.
Iran is not Iraq - that is clear- Tony Blairs "I'm putting my foot down-" could also be for both domestic consumption and for Iran's viewpoint - playing a good cop-bad cop to mullahs and Ayatolla's.
In the meantime elements in Iran- with or without Government backing -are still engaged in supporting the attacking factions in Iraq, reports on CNN, BBC, Fox News, and even Al Jeezera clearly show some form of support from factions in Iran for some groups in Iraq.
It is expected also that some more support will flow eastward to Afghanistan from elements in Iran who fear stable Democratic secular neighbors allies of the country they see as allies of thier greatest threat - the USA.
So if Irans hardliners could hope for anything is the US go it alone - and or with Israeli backing to hit targets no one knows for sure and with the Iraq intel ficasco freash in peoples minds - no one is sure really exists around the world - then the hardliners could rally and create a situation that would make 9-11, Madrid, and London actions of al qeada seems like childsplay.
For now cooler heads remain in control. But- if it is a situation worth monitoring....