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Backbench Business — Iran (UK Foreign Policy)

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:24 pm on 6th November 2014.

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Photo of Richard Ottaway Richard Ottaway Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee 12:24 pm, 6th November 2014

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and that goes to this question of trust. If visits are prevented, how can we trust people when they say what is going on there?

As we approach the deadline, there is little sign of a deal. There is still prevarication. The Foreign Office should be prepared to sign up to an extension of the deadline if that is what is needed. The time is on the west’s side at the moment: the sanctions have had an impact, even though they are a crude weapon; the oil price is falling; and the Iranian economy is shrinking fairly significantly. This is the right time to do the deal, but the window is narrow, as the situation has become more complicated by the mid-term election results in the United States. An increasingly confident Republican-controlled Congress is set to make life more and more difficult for President Obama as he reaches the end of his presidency. Rouhani’s time is also limited, as he is trying to fight off the hardliners. If there is no deal, Rouhani will be weakened, the hardliners will be back and they cannot wait for this deal to fail, and the hostility to the west will grow.

If Iran gets a bomb, the middle east arms race will accelerate, and the security situation will get worse. Russia has a role to play. There were reports yesterday that some processing may be done in Russia, which is a great idea if it is possible and achievable. As has been said about Ukraine over recent months, we must keep the lines of communication open with Russia, mainly because they are a key player in settling the deal in Iran.