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Iran: Arms Trade

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received recent reports on British arms dealers trading with the government of Iran. (202489)

The export of arms and other related material to Iran is subject to UN, EU and national sanctions. We rigorously apply these controls to all export licence applications destined for Iran.

We are aware of recent media reports about British arms dealers attempting to trade with the Government of Iran. We take these reports very seriously. Where the Government receive information that an exporter has attempted to circumvent export control rules, the relevant Government Departments and agencies will take appropriate action. This was the case with the arms brokers John Knight and Mehrdad Salashoor. In both cases, the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) mounted successful prosecutions, which led to both individuals being given extended prison terms and large confiscation orders for breaches of export control rules.

These media reports also highlighted a number of on-going investigations. The relevant authorities are looking into these cases and if they uncover evidence of attempts to breach export control rules, they will refer appropriate cases to RCPO to consider prosecutions. This work, and the recent successful prosecutions, demonstrates that our export controls are robust. We will continue to take action against those who attempt to circumvent UK controls.