UK Backs U.S. Stance on Iran, Afghanistan

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President Bush is ending his farewell trip through Europe with a boost.

In a joint news conference, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged solidarity with Bush on tough foreign policy matters, especially concerning Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an effort to increase pressure on Iran and dissuade the country from developing nuclear weapons, Brown said Britain will freeze the assets of Iran's largest bank.

"I will repeat that we will take any necessary action so that Iran is aware of the choice it has to make - to start to play its part as a full and respected member of the international community, or face further isolation," Brown said. He said Britain was starting a new phase of sanctions on oil and gas.

He also said Britain was sending more troops to southern Afghanistan.

Britain's deployment of about 230 engineers, logistical staff and military trainers to Afghanistan will increase the number of British forces there to more than 8,000.

On Iraq, Brown said he would not withdraw the 4,000 remaining British troops until the task is done. Also, there would be no trade-off by moving troops out of Afghanistan.

"In Iraq there is a job to be done and we will continue to do the job and there will be no artificial timetable," Brown said.

Brown described Bush as a "true friend of Britain," while Bush praised Brown for being "tough on terror."

Bush said it was in "all our interests" to help people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Source: The Associated Press, BBC

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