Situation in the Gulf

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Conservative, North East Bedfordshire 5:06 pm, 22nd July 2019

I thank my right hon. Friend for his statement. I also thank my right hon. Friend Sir Alan Duncan for his extraordinary work and companionship in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office over so many years.

It is absolutely correct to concentrate on recent events, and it must be right to ensure the safe passage of ships through the Gulf and to ensure that Iran must face up to its responsibilities, but does the Secretary of State agree that there is no doubt that this is just the latest symptom of the long-running issue between Iran and its neighbours? Does he also agree that the situation surrounding the discussions over the nuclear deal were arguably even more serious than those today, because the pressure was on to seek a nuclear weapon and somehow the negotiations found a way to establish a relationship that de-escalated that situation? If that was the case, what does my right hon. Friend think might be the trigger to start those negotiations again? The links are all there in Tehran, and we need to recognise that it is vital to deal with the cause as well as the symptoms.