What recent assessment he has made of the state of UK relations with Iran; and if he will make a statement.
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The UK desires a constructive relationship with Iran, based on mutual respect. However, we have significant concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, its regional activity and internal repression. Unacceptable harassment of staff in Tehran has forced the British Council to suspend its operations, which has obstructed the legitimate activities of our embassy. We have protested to Iran on numerous occasions, and we regret that it has done nothing to address the situation.
The Minister did not draw attention to the fact that Iranian activity has been responsible for the deaths of our servicemen in Iraq—and now, particularly, in Afghanistan. What are we going to do, other than merely protest?
We make our views very clear to the Iranian Government. We also interdict the forces coming from Iran. The message that needs to go out from all of us—it is part of the message that President Obama is sending the Iranian regime—is that we want Iran to be a responsible international partner. Fuelling terrorism and fighting in the region does nothing whatever to further that end.
The reports have not yet been confirmed; nevertheless, a constant refrain of our dialogue with the Iranian regime is that such activities, wherever they occur, are not only wrong but move us further away from the peaceful outcome that we all want in the region.
We are right to be very concerned about Iranian nuclear ambitions; so, too, are the Government of Israel. However, does the hon. Gentleman accept that it is important that we should stress to Mr. Netanyahu and the Israeli Government that their interests are best served by working in concert with the United States and the European Union, rather than by contemplating any unilateral action on their own part?
I very much agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman's statement. There is a shared interest, and all our interests are served by our presenting the Iranian Government with that choice—a choice between engagement, with all the political and economic benefits that that can bring, and much tougher sanctions imposed on behalf of the whole international community.