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Volume 984: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards Iran.

The Government wish to maintain friendly relations with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The main matter at issue is Iran's illegal detention for more than six months of the United States diplomats. Her Majesty's Government have throughout this time made repeated efforts to secure their release, and with this in mind have decided, with our European partners, to take powers to impose a range of sanctions on Iran.

I appreciate that my hon. Friend has had enough of Iran to last him for at least a day or two, but will he accept that we shall continue to have the worst of all worlds with regard to Iran unless we work towards, and rapidly achieve, a continuous and definite policy towards that country, not least a strategy towards the area as a whole?

I entirely agree. I believe that we have such a policy. We take all available opportunities to impress on our partners and allies that a policy towards Iran needs to be considered within the framework of our policy towards the Middle East.

Without going into the problem of sanctions, does the hon. Gentleman accept that the easiest way to cope with the matter is to shut these numerous phoney English language schools that Iranian students flock to for various false reasons? Does the hon. Gentleman agree that that has been going on for years, yet no one takes action? Why not put an end to that and keep those students out?

Schools are not a matter for me, and nor is kicking people out of the country. In the past few days we have given notice that we propose at the end of the week to institute a visa regime that will control the future entry of Iranians to this country.