Counter-Daesh Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:34 pm on 7th November 2017.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 2:34 pm, 7th November 2017

My hon. Friend is right in the sense that Iran certainly poses a threat to the region and is a cause of instability. As he says, we can see that in Yemen, in its influence with Hezbollah, in Lebanon and in Syria. There is no question but that Iran needs to be constrained. But to throw out all diplomatic relations and abandon all engagement with Iran would be a profound mistake; I must tell the House my honest view about that. It slightly surprises me that my hon. Friend should take that line because the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the Iran nuclear deal—was an important diplomatic accomplishment, and it is still extant. It is still alive, and it is in part an achievement of British diplomacy over the past few months that it remains, in its essence, intact. We intend to preserve it because it is the best method that we have of preventing Iran from securing a nuclear weapon.

As for severing diplomatic relations entirely, that takes us to the question that so many Opposition Members have asked today. How can we secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe unless we are willing to get out there and engage with the Iranians diplomatically in order to make an effort to secure her release? That is what we are doing.