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Iran: Hamas/Hezbollah

Volume 593: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2015

8. What recent assessment he has made of the extent of Iran’s financial and material support for Hamas and Hezbollah. (907834)

We have serious concerns about Iran’s support for militant groups, including Hezbollah and Hamas. That includes financial resources and training, as well as the supply of military equipment.

I thank the Minister for that answer. As part of our talks with Iran on its nuclear programme, will there be a specific condition on Iran to stop sponsoring and harbouring terrorism, whether that is supporting the Houthis in Yemen, interfering in Syria, interfering in Iraq with its militias against the Sunnis, or supporting Hezbollah, to ensure that we have a long-term solution, not a short-term fix?

Discussions around a nuclear solution are separate to those other matters, but my hon. Friend is right to raise the issue. Iran is having a destabilising effect in the region, and that is a violation of UN resolution 1747 which makes illegal the export of weapon systems and armaments from Iran.

Iran arms Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, and it now threatens to arm Palestinians on the west bank who currently support President Abbas. In view of the Minister’s previous reply, what specific representations have the Government made to the United Nations about that flagrant breach of UN resolutions?

The hon. Lady will be aware that the Prime Minister had his first meeting with the Prime Minister of Iran at the United Nations General Assembly and very much put those points down. She is right that Iran must question its role in the region. It must ask itself whether it wants to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. We have spoken about Hamas and Hezbollah. Hezbollah is effectively propping up the Assad regime, because he is losing the officer class, which is depleted because of the war.

Next week, as chair of the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, I will be welcoming the first delegation of Iranian parliamentarians to visit this country for some time. Will my hon. Friend welcome that development? He knows not only that the House will give full and appropriate courtesy to parliamentarians from Iran, but that it will take the opportunity to engage them in the full and frank discussion of matters between us, which is the only basis on which parliamentarians can build a relationship.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is through full and frank engagement that we can get our message across. Dialogue with Iran has increased. We must ensure that Iran not only talks the talk, but that its actions speak as loud as its words.