We on these Benches welcome the extensive international engagement in this policy, especially from our European partners, but also from other long-standing friends and allies. I was, of course, pleased to learn of the announcement by the Australian Foreign Minister this morning. Will the Minister outline how much support this policy has managed to garner at international level, particularly from Russia, China, India and Japan? The ban by Russia and China on supplying military equipment as well as training and maintenance is very welcome, but will the Minister say what assurances they are giving that this will be continued, and what influence they are exerting on Tehran to ensure a more responsible attitude from the regime?
On the diplomatic front, we have seen reports that at a meeting in Moscow on
The policy position as set out yesterday by the former Leader of your Lordships' House, my noble friend Lady Ashton, in her capacity as the EU's high representative on foreign affairs, is undeniably correct. However, there is no doubt either that the crisis in the Gulf could further weaken worldwide economic growth, so can the Minister outline the reaction from the main oil-consuming countries in Asia, which have a high dependence on Iranian oil, to the policy of a ban on crude oil imports from Iran and-this is almost as important-the export of refined products back to Iran? Given the disproportionate effect that these necessary sanctions will have on the vulnerable economies of southern Europe, will the Minister indicate what measures are being taken to protect them?
Finally, in the event of a crisis in the Gulf having a material impact on the world economy, what indications have the Government had from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that in such circumstances contingency plans are in place to deal with any economic effects? The position in the region, the attitude being struck by Iran and the economic impact of any implementation of the threat by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz are unquestionably serious. Your Lordships' House and we on these Benches look forward to the Government continuing to keep this House fully informed.