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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Nuclear Deal)

Volume 629: debated on Monday 16 October 2017

Her Majesty’s Government have taken note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify the joint comprehensive plan of action to Congress and, along with France, Germany and our other international partners, are concerned by the implications.

Her Majesty’s Government are strongly committed to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action or JCPoA. This deal represents the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes. The JCPoA contributes to the United Kingdom’s wider non-proliferation objectives and strengthens the international framework in this regard.

The Government remain of the firm view that the deal is in the security interests of the United Kingdom and the wider region and is, most importantly, working to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The International Atomic Energy Agency have released eight reports on Iran’s nuclear programme since implementation day of the JCPoA in January 2016. In our role as a member of the Joint Commission, the body set up to implement the deal, consisting of the E3+3 (UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, US) and Iran, and co-ordinated by the European Union, we have held Iran to account and urged continued compliance. Where Iran has previously pushed the boundaries of the deal, it has taken steps to remain in compliance. The most recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency in August 2017 confirmed that Iran continues to comply with its nuclear related commitments under the JCPoA.

However, the Government share serious concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising activity in the region. Addressing these issues is a fundamental part of the Government’s policy towards Iran and we will consider further appropriate measures. The nuclear deal does not prevent us from tackling these issues. On the contrary, removing the most dangerous threat of nuclear weapons allows us to focus our efforts on challenging on the other areas of Iran’s destabilising activity.

In parallel to agreeing the joint comprehensive plan of action in July 2015, Her Majesty’s Government have been rebuilding bilateral relations with Iran in order to address issues of disagreement as well as discuss areas of agreement and co-operation. Both the United Kingdom and Iran reopened Embassies in London and Tehran in August 2015 and we upgraded to ambassadorial relations in September 2016. We remain very concerned about dual British- Iranian nationals who are detained in Iran and on whose cases we continue to press for improvement at the highest levels. Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have raised these cases personally with their Iranian counterparts and will continue to do so.

Her Majesty’s Government continue to make the case for the JCPoA with its partners, including the United States, and are committed to ensuring its success in delivering both our security objectives and delivering sanctions relief for the Iranian people, while we also work to tackle our broader concerns. The Government are encouraging the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any further steps that might undermine or weaken the JCPoA.