CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – IRAN & IRAQ – 23 February 2009

Dr Julian Lewis: Within the last few days, it has been revealed by the British ambassador to the United Nations that in 2005 the Iranians offered the British a deal whereby they said:

“We stop killing you in Iraq...you allow us to carry on with our”

missile and

“nuclear programme.”

That deal was rightly rejected. This is, I believe, the first time that a senior British official has spoken about an Iranian admission of direct involvement in killing British service personnel. Will the Secretary of State confirm that that is also his understanding of that situation?

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. John Hutton): I do not think that there is any doubt that, in recent years, the Iranians have been assisting various groups in Iraq to attack British Forces. That is totally unacceptable. Iran should keep its nose out of Iraq and other countries. Iran has a legitimate set of interests in the Middle East, but it has no right whatever to involve itself in the internal security situation of other countries. Its role in assisting those groups to kill British Forces is one that we will never forget.]