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Volume 986: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1980

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The British Government's trade sanctions against Iran came into effect on 30 May. The orders have since been approved by both Houses. The Government continue to support diplomatic moves which might lead to the release of the hostages, including the visit to Iran by Mr. Daoudi, the Syrian member of the United Nations Commission. In Iran, the Majlis has met but not yet considered the question of the hostages.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that those of us who were strongly opposed to the Shah's regime, and are certainly opposed to sanctions as serving no purpose, continue to be very much opposed to the totally unlawful detention of the American hostages, who should be released as quickly as possible? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many of us are also deeply troubled by the almost daily executions that are taking place in Iran?

I am grateful for what the hon. Gentleman has said. I take note, as the House will have done, of the second part of his question.

What evidence does the Minister have that British or Western sanctions against Iran are working?

Our sanctions have been in effect for about three weeks and it is difficult to judge. Certainly, they have not produced the explosion of retaliation prophesied by some Opposition Members.