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Volume 584: debated on Tuesday 22 July 2014

8. What recent assessment he has made of progress in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran on that country’s nuclear programme. (904990)

Negotiations with Iran on a comprehensive agreement have been tough but productive. It was not possible to reach a deal by 20 July, but both sides are committed to building on the progress that has been made. We have therefore agreed with Iran to extend the Geneva interim agreement until 24 November to give us the time to bridge the differences, in particular on the core issue of enrichment.

I congratulate the Minister on his well deserved appointment. Does he consider that the timetable set for agreement between the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany and Iran on the enrichment of nuclear materials is sufficient?

I am grateful for that welcome. The right hon. Gentleman and I have spent much time in this place discussing some of the very issues that we are talking about now. He is right to raise concerns about the deal. Rather than making a bad deal, we believe it is important to delay it to make sure that we have an appropriate deal. Talks have been productive. Both sides have worked hard on a draft text but more time is needed to bridge the differences that remain, in particular on enrichment, and to agree the details of how the agreement will be implemented.

21. The joint plan of action abandons the demands made by the six United Nations Security Council resolutions that Iran must halt all enrichment, so what assessment has my hon. Friend made of the message that this would send to the Iranian regime about how serious we are about sticking to our guns where Iran’s nuclear capabilities are concerned? (905005)

I appreciate my hon. Friend’s concerns and pay tribute to him for his interest in this area. We are looking for the appropriate deal to be struck. It has not been on the table up to this point. It was decided to delay matters until November and I hope to be able to report back to the House very soon on what progress has been made.