Iranian Seizure of Royal Navy Personnel

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:33 pm on 28th March 2007.

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Photo of Michael Moore Michael Moore Shadow Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs) 12:33 pm, 28th March 2007

May I echo the thanks to the Foreign Secretary expressed by Mr. Hague for coming to the House to make this statement? I also thank her for all the information that she and her officials have made available to us.

We share the Government's anger and concern about this illegal abduction of UK service personnel. Our thoughts are with them and their families. It is outrageous that Iran has compounded its serious breach of international law by refusing even to confirm where the marines and sailors are held, never mind allowing the basic humanitarian requirement of consular access. This episode has been an epic misjudgement by Iran.

Does the Foreign Secretary believe that the episode is a one-off, designed to test British attitudes, or part of a deliberate strategy to ramp up pressure against all the coalition forces in the region? We understand that there is constant Iranian activity in those waters, but can she say whether there has been any change in the pattern since the illegal seizure last week?

On the diplomatic front, given Iran's many complex political layers, can the Foreign Secretary tell us on which levels British diplomatic efforts are focused? As part of moving into the different phase, what formal assistance has been offered or is available from our European, American and other international partners?

Will the Foreign Secretary re-emphasise that nobody in Britain will accept links to any other issues—or, indeed, anything other than the swift return of the British service personnel and full Iranian compliance with all Iran's international obligations?