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Britain rejects US request to use UK bases in nuclear standoff with Iran

Secret legal advice states pre-emptive strike could be in breach of international law as Iran not yet 'clear and present threat'
• Military action not 'right course', Downing Street says
Nick Hopkins
The Guardian, Thursday 25 October 2012 14.36 EDT

Britain has rebuffed US pleas to use military bases in the UK to support the build-up of forces in the Gulf, citing secret legal advice which states that any pre-emptive strike on Iran could be in breach of international law.

The Guardian has been told that US diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.

The US approaches are part of contingency planning over the nuclear standoff with Tehran, but British ministers have so far reacted coolly. They have pointed US officials to legal advice drafted by the attorney general's office which has been circulated to Downing Street, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.

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