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

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 5:39 pm, 25th September 2019

I am particularly grateful that we are able to raise important issues such as this in Parliament just now. I also thank the Foreign Secretary for early sight of his statement.

We have long argued on the SNP Benches that there is a need for engagement, cool heads and dialogue, and that is especially important when dealing with the de-escalation of conflict in the middle east, as well as the nuclear threat. It is also important that we work with those who should be closest to us politically, and I welcome the joint statement with France and Germany. It is so important that we make progress and get the JCPOA back on track. We should be closest to our European partners.

We condemn the attacks on the Aramco facilities, just as we condemn any attacks on civilian targets in the Arabian Peninsula. When dealing with a regime such as Iran that regularly flouts human rights and international norms, it is critical that we lead by example. Does the Foreign Secretary agree that we must respect the rule of law and that any comparisons of the UK and Iranian judicial process would be deeply irresponsible? Does he also agree that we must adhere to that rules-based system, which means that any rules that the court hands down on arms sales to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere must be adhered to?

Finally, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and the other UK nationals who are being held must be the highest priority for the Government. As this is a critical and complicated issue, may I gently ask the Foreign Secretary to ensure that, when the Prime Minister is in meetings with the Iranians or is dealing with this, he is fully briefed so that he can do no more damage than he has already done?