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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Volume 687: debated on Tuesday 19 January 2021

What diplomatic steps he is taking to bring Iran back into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. (910977)

We are very concerned about Iran’s continued systemic non-compliance with its nuclear commitments, and we have made that clear with our E3 partners, including recently at the ministerial meeting of the joint comprehensive plan of action.

Recent confirmation from the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity at its Fordow facility is enormously concerning, and it is arguably the most significant breach of the JCPOA. Will the Foreign Secretary confirm that his Department will press the new Administration under President-elect Biden to rejoin the deal, and put much-needed pressure on Iran to return to compliance?

My hon. Friend is right about the risk from the now systemic serial non-compliance from Iran. On 21 December we held a ministerial meeting of the JCPOA ministerial commission, which was an opportunity to set out clearly our position, not just the UK, but with our French and German partners. It is welcome that President-elect Biden and the new Administration have talked about coming back to the JCPOA, and enhancing and strengthening it, and that will be one of the early topics of conversation that we have with the new Administration.

I hope the whole House will join me in welcoming the newest member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns) on the birth of her second child, which I have just heard about. Before the Secretary of State joins me in offering such congratulations, will he also give some thought to the approach of the new Biden Administration on the Iran deal? He will have read in the Foreign Affairs Committee’s report, which was expertly helped by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton, the various thoughts that we put down, including looking at how we can work with regional partners and allies who are deeply concerned by the change of Administration, and perhaps a change of tone in the White House. How will my right hon. Friend ensure that the Biden Administration, the UK Administration, and our friends and partners in the region work together to ensure that we stop this malevolent dictatorship expanding its evil reach any further?

I thank the Chair of the Select Committee, and pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns). I congratulate both parents on their new child—a very happy moment. We are obviously putting a lot of thought into how we engage with the new Administration, including on Iran. The E3 unity that we have shown throughout is a value of strength, and a lever for the United States and the new Administration. My hon. Friend will also be aware that there is a window of opportunity between now and the Iranian presidential elections in early June, to try to make some definitive progress. Against that timeframe we ought to be able to focus minds.