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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair supports regime change in Iran and Syria but has warned that the West faces a “long and hard struggle to defeat terrorism.”

Speaking to the Times newspaper on Friday, Blair, who oversaw Britain’s participation in the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq following the September 11 attacks in the U.S., blamed Iran for helping to prolong the conflicts because he said it continues to “support groups that are engaged in terrorism.”

He stressed, however, that he was not proposing military action against Iran, but that he would like to see an end to the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“Regime change in Tehran would immediately make me significantly more optimistic about the whole of the region,” Blair, who is international peace envoy for the Middle East, said in an interview marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

He also called on the international community to hasten the departure of the Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has deployed troops and tanks in a bloody crackdown to crush a six-month-long uprising against his rule.

“He is not going to lead the programme of change in Syria now. He has shown he is not capable of reform. His position is untenable. There is no process of change that leaves him intact,” Blair said.

Reuters

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