Iran

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 22nd July 2014.

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Photo of Tom Clarke Tom Clarke Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill 11:30 am, 22nd July 2014

What recent assessment he has made of progress in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran on that country’s nuclear programme.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Negotiations with Iran on a comprehensive agreement have been tough but productive. It was not possible to reach a deal by 20 July, but both sides are committed to building on the progress that has been made. We have therefore agreed with Iran to extend the Geneva interim agreement until 24 November to give us the time to bridge the differences, in particular on the core issue of enrichment.

Photo of Tom Clarke Tom Clarke Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

I congratulate the Minister on his well deserved appointment. Does he consider that the timetable set for agreement between the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany and Iran on the enrichment of nuclear materials is sufficient?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I am grateful for that welcome. The right hon. Gentleman and I have spent much time in this place discussing some of the very issues that we are talking about now. He is right to raise concerns about the deal. Rather than making a bad deal, we believe it is important to delay it to make sure that we have an appropriate deal. Talks have been productive. Both sides have worked hard on a draft text but more time is needed to bridge the differences that remain, in particular on enrichment, and to agree the details of how the agreement will be implemented.

Photo of Jack Lopresti Jack Lopresti Conservative, Filton and Bradley Stoke

The joint plan of action abandons the demands made by the six United Nations Security Council resolutions that Iran must halt all enrichment, so what assessment has my hon. Friend made of the message that this would send to the Iranian regime about how serious we are about sticking to our guns where Iran’s nuclear capabilities are concerned?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I appreciate my hon. Friend’s concerns and pay tribute to him for his interest in this area. We are looking for the appropriate deal to be struck. It has not been on the table up to this point. It was decided to delay matters until November and I hope to be able to report back to the House very soon on what progress has been made.