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Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 31st March 2009.

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Photo of David Miliband David Miliband Foreign Secretary 2:30 pm, 31st March 2009

The multilateral basis of engagement with the Iranians is first of all in respect of its NPT obligations. That is why this is an IAEA process, as well as a UN process. The sort of confidence and stability that I know that my hon. Friend wants to see in the middle east can be achieved only if nations abjure the sort of rejectionist rhetoric that has emerged from Tehran, which produces the sort of fears that can lead to a nuclear arms race.

The other thing to say is that not only Israel is worried about an Iranian nuclear weapons programme. If one talks to people from any Arab or Gulf state, one sees that there is a very high degree of concern among them for obvious reasons, given the tinderbox that is always the middle east. The last thing that it needs is a nuclear weapons arms race. In that context, we have a real opportunity, and responsibility, to bring old foes over the Israel-Palestine issue together on the Iranian issue. We believe that it is essential to move forward on the middle east peace process, but we must also recognise that there are also new coalitions to be built on the Iranian nuclear issue.

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