New Forest East

DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – IRAN – 1 February 2007

[Mr Michael Meacher: ... how can we insist that the UK must maintain its nuclear weapons to guarantee its security and at the same time lecture Iran to the effect that it does not need nuclear weapons for its own security and that the safety of the world will be compromised if it is allowed to go down that route? ...]

Dr Julian Lewis: Irrespective of the argument that there is all the difference in the world between constitutional democracies having weapons of mass destruction and dictatorships that make explicit threats to annihilate other countries having those weapons, the right hon. Gentleman has to recognise that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty makes a distinction between five countries, including ours, and our obligations and many other countries, including Iran, and their obligations. We are observing our obligations and we are not undermining them by continuing to have a minimum strategic deterrent, whereas Iran is threatening to break its obligations.