Middle East: Security

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 7th January 2020.

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Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace The Secretary of State for Defence 3:37 pm, 7th January 2020

My right hon. Friend is right about the behaviour of the Quds Force—the revolutionary guard—over the years. Plenty of voices and decent people in Iran seek a way out for the Government and the people of Iran, whereby they move back to a normal position of international respect. These people are trying and have tried—certainly, when we visited they tried—to get away from the principlists, the hardliners, who have been running the country into the ground and making it a pariah state. Soleimani was one of the people who enabled those hardliners to create the pariah state they are in now. The balance we need is to ensure that those people seeking the right path are either empowered or heard, and are not snuffed out by the revolutionary guard. I fear that in the past 12 months the revolutionary guard, under Soleimani and his gang, has had the upper hand, meaning that those moderate voices have been snuffed out to the extent that the supreme leader and others are not at the moment interested in finding an alternative. Our job is to persuade them that there is an alternative.