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Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on investment by European energy companies in upstream oil and gas developments in Iran; and what the outcome was of these discussions. (96990)

I have not discussed such investments with my EU colleagues.

On 6 June the EU High Representative, Javier Solana, presented proposals to Iran on behalf of the ‘E3+3’ (France, Germany, UK + China, Russia, US) as the basis for a possible long-term solution to the nuclear issue. These make clear that as part of a long-term agreement, we would support the establishment of a long-term energy partnership between Iran and the EU. Regrettably Iran has not taken the steps required by the International Atomic Energy Agency Board and the UN Security Council, which would enable negotiations to begin.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she last met the Iranian ambassador to the UK to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme. (98136)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has yet to meet the Iranian ambassador. She discussed Iran’s nuclear programme with the Iranian Foreign Minister when they met in New York on 19 September.

I met the Iranian ambassador on 12 September to discuss Iran's nuclear programme and other areas of concern. Since taking up his post in July 2006, the Iranian ambassador has also discussed the nuclear issue with senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials on a number of occasions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on Iran’s referral to the Security Council. (98345)

Successive reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General have made clear Iran’s failure to co-operate folly with the IAEA and its failure to address the IAEA Board’s concerns. As a result, the Board requested in its Resolution of 4 February that the Director-General should report to the UN Security Council the steps required of Iran.

Since then the Security Council has taken a close interest. In a Presidential Statement on 29 March, the Security Council called on Iran to comply with IAEA Board Resolutions, including by fully suspending all uranium enrichment related and reprocessing activities. Security Council Resolution 1696, adopted on 31 July, made the suspension mandatory.

The IAEA Director-General’s 31 August report makes clear that Iran has not complied with IAEA Board and Security Council Resolutions. Nor has Iran taken the steps that would enable negotiations on a long-term solution to begin on the basis of the generous proposals Javier Solana presented on 6 June on behalf of the ‘E3+3’(France, Germany, UK + China, Russia, US).

E3+3 Foreign Ministers met in London on 6 October and agreed that Iran’s approach leaves us no choice but to seek another Security Council Resolution imposing sanctions. We are now consulting members of the Security Council on a draft. We continue to urge Iran to respond positively to our proposals. If Iran takes the steps required by the IAEA Board and the Security Council we remain ready to suspend further action by the Council.