Leader: This time, listen to Hans Blix

The drumbeat for war in Iran has begun. The US says that "all options are on the table", while Israel agitates for military action. In a major intervention on page 22, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency Hans Blix, who was vindicated over the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, warns against bombing Iran and condemns the "outrageous, gangster-style war" being waged on Iranian scientists. Drawing on the lessons of Iraq, Mr Blix says that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran is building a bomb. He calls instead for nuclear disarmament across the Middle East, including Israel. Washington, Tel Aviv and London would do well to listen to him this time round. An attack on Tehran would be a disaster. There is no alternative to renewed and sustained diplomacy.

This article first appeared in the 20 February 2012 issue of the New Statesman, How do we stop Iran getting the bomb?