FOREIGN AFFAIRS – UK RELATIONS WITH IRAN – 11 October 2005

Dr Julian Lewis: Is there not a greater danger than a nuclear Iran, which might be deterred from taking action in its own name, in that it could supply nuclear weapons, once it acquired them, to other forces – to non-state actors that would have no hesitation about using them for terrorist purposes?

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Dr Lewis: Is my hon. Friend [Brian Binley ] aware of a recent report that some EU ambassadors felt it necessary to withdraw from a parade that they were attending in Iran when they saw the slogans that were displayed, one of which read:

"Israel will be wiped from the face of the earth"?

[Mr Binley: I thank my hon. Friend for bringing that to my attention. I did not know of that particular incident, but it is in keeping with many of the slogans being paraded throughout Iran, and we should take note of the intent behind them.]

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Dr Lewis: Before the Minister [The Minister for the Middle East (Dr Kim Howells)] returns to his main speech, will he tell us why the Foreign Secretary is so certain that there is no prospect of military action when the Prime Minister, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, gave as a casus belli the possibility of the Iraqi regime producing nuclear material that could be given to terrorists? There is a contradiction there.

[Dr Howells: ... We do not believe that the Iranians will be able to produce nuclear devices of any description for some time to come. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will bear with me when I say that the world of diplomacy requires one to choose language very carefully. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said that he could not envisage any circumstances in which there would be some sort of armed response to the problem of nuclear proliferation. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will understand what I am saying.]