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Incoming US Administration: Iran Nuclear Agreement

Volume 617: debated on Tuesday 22 November 2016

14. What discussions he has had with the incoming US Administration on their policy on the nuclear agreement with Iran. (907415)

The Government remain committed to the nuclear deal with Iran, and we look forward to working with the new Administration in the United States to ensure that it is a success.

As the Foreign Secretary may know, people sometimes say things during election campaigns that are falsehoods or exaggerations in order to win. Can he provide any assurance that that was the case when President-elect Trump called the agreement with Iran

“the worst deal ever negotiated”?

I am not going to get into a commentary on the election campaign that has just taken place in the United States. All I can say is that we in this Government think that there is merit in the deal. There has been a considerable increase in trade with Iran since sanctions were lifted—a 40% increase in UK trade. Deals have recently been announced by Lotus and Vodafone, so we should be positive about our engagement and keep the thing on the road.

The agreement with Iran was hard won and hugely important both to remove the threat of Iran gaining nuclear weapons and to start a process of normalising relations with Tehran. Even those who originally opposed the deal, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, now urge President-elect Trump not to tear it up. Can I press the Secretary of State to join those calls today and make it clear that the deal must continue to be honoured by all sides?

I repeat the point that I just made. We believe in this deal. We think it is good. We are making progress. As the hon. Lady will know, we recently reopened the UK embassy in Tehran. Ambassador Nicholas Hopton is now in post and doing a very good job—although if other people want to volunteer for that post, I suppose they are always welcome to do so. He is using that opportunity to develop our relations with Tehran, which will be of increasing importance in the years ahead. That is a point that we will make to our friends in Washington and worldwide.