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Iran

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:39 pm on 25th September 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 5:39 pm, 25th September 2019

I thank the right hon. Lady for her remarks. I think we have agreement on at least some of them—on unequivocally condemning Iran for its responsibility for the Aramco attacks, for its attacks on shipping in the strait of Hormuz and for its treatment of dual nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

I share the right hon. Lady’s view that we want to maintain the JCPOA and that we remain committed to it, and that is the position of the Government. However, we can, we should and we must do better, because the JCPOA is limited. That is now recognised by the President of the United States—she has lambasted that—but also by the French President. Rather than trying to engage in tit for tat over whether this a European or a US initiative, we should welcome the opportunity to forge a stronger international consensus. The choice here is not between the US and Iran, Saudi and Iran, or indeed the US and the EU, which is the paradigm the right hon. Lady presented. The choice is about those of us who are willing to stand up and uphold the rules-based international order, and the UK will be unflinching and unwavering in committing to doing that.

The right hon. Lady also talked—she will correct me if I am wrong—about whether the UK will be sending troops to Saudi Arabia. There has been no suggestion of that at all; it is simply wrong for her to say it. What has been said is that the US is sending troops to Saudi Arabia to make sure that Saudi can protect itself from further attacks or repeats of the attacks on Aramco. We have said that we would consider requests that we have received for support in relation to air defences. However, we are absolutely clear that our overarching strategic objective is de-escalation and reducing tensions. We want to see Iran come in from the international cold, but we need to be absolutely unwavering and clear in our resolve that the only way that that will happen is if Iran steps up and starts to meet its responsibilities, whether it is on dual nationals, nuclear compliance or the basic rules of international law, such as not attacking one’s neighbours.