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Central Treaty Organisation (Iran)

Volume 641: debated on Friday 5 May 1961

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40.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what communication Her Majesty's Government have received from the Government of Iran concerning the revision of that country's commitments under the Central Treaty Organisation.

In view of widespread speculation in recent weeks about future Iranian foreign policy, can the hon. Gentleman say whether any assurances have been sought about Iran's continued membership of the Central Treaty Organisation? Secondly, as under the Treaty this country has an obligation not only to aid Iran in the event of armed attack, but also to assist her in countering subversion, will he give an assurance that this obligation will not cover political activities which would not be regarded as subversive by British standards?

The new Iranian Government have specifically stated their respect, on the basis of their adherence to the U.N. Charter, for all Iran's undertakings and agreements. Their Prime Minister has publicly stated that Iran would not leave CENTO. Her Majesty's Government attach great significance to the part which Iran can play within CENTO.

In view of the serious state Iran is now in, financially and otherwise, could the hon. Gentleman tell us exactly what contribution Iran could make to CENTO?

Iran occupies an important position geographically within CENTO. I think it right that we should continue to welcome it within that organisation.