Iran Nuclear Deal

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:48 pm on 8th May 2019.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Conservative, North East Bedfordshire 12:48 pm, 8th May 2019

I do not always agree with my hon. Friend Mr Baron, but he has got this absolutely right, and I commend him for both the question and the way he put it.

The action of Iran today is not particularly unexpected, but it is incontrovertible that it drops at a time of much-heightened rhetoric around the situation between Iran and the US, and in a complex region where the risk of confrontation has now been increased. What appears to be missing is a channel between Washington and Tehran, however private, to start de-escalating some of this rhetoric and, with regard to allies in the region who take strong views on this, to move away from confrontation.

I note that there is a 60-day delay before the Iranians take further action. In a sense, that is an offer to make progress on negotiations. In the talks today between the Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister and Secretary of State Pompeo, can we start to explore, however privately—the Americans might not be able to say much about it—the urgent need for that direct back-channel link, which needs to be built if we are to move away from what Emily Thornberry accurately characterised as the possibility of something catastrophic in the not-too-distant future?