36 David Jones debates involving the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Israel and Gaza

David Jones Excerpts
Tuesday 26th March 2024

(2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrew Mitchell Portrait Mr Mitchell
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In respect of the second part of the hon. Lady’s question, let me make the Government’s position clear: we respect the role and independence of the ICJ, but we do not believe, and have never believed, that the case launched now will be helpful in bringing the two parties together. She will know that the court has called for the immediate release of the hostages and the need to get more aid into Gaza, and we strongly agree with that. She will also know that the ICJ’s provisional measures order is binding on the parties to the dispute as a matter of international law, but she will see that through the work we have been carrying out, we are trying to address all the points that she made in the first part of her question. We are obviously grateful for the support of Liberal Democrat Members in trying to achieve that.

David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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May I press my right hon. Friend further on the answer he gave to the hon. Member for Sunderland Central (Julie Elliott)? The humanitarian situation in Gaza is, of course, dire. In northern Gaza, it is estimated that some 70% of the population are suffering the most appalling food shortages and are resorting to eating animal feed, bird seed and grass. Does the Minister not recognise that respected international partners such as Australia, Canada, Sweden and Denmark have now restored full funding to UNRWA, which is the most important and capable humanitarian organisation in Gaza? Does he not think that the United Kingdom should also do so as quickly as possible, and in what circumstances and under what conditions will that be done?

Andrew Mitchell Portrait Mr Mitchell
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At the moment, Britain does not have a requirement to provide extra money, because we have fully funded UNRWA through our commitment to that organisation up until the next financial year, which effectively means the end of April. In an earlier response, I addressed the point that my right hon. Friend made so eloquently about the requirement for UNRWA assets to be used. As he knows, we will look very carefully at the two reports I mentioned—including the interim one, which should be available in New York today—in the hope that measures will be taken that will allow everyone, not just Britain, to restore funding to UNRWA in due course.

Israel and Gaza

David Jones Excerpts
Tuesday 19th March 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrew Mitchell Portrait Mr Mitchell
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I have set out several times already today why calling for an immediate ceasefire may make us feel better but is not a practical resolution. That is why—[Interruption.] There is no difference between the analysis that the hon. Lady makes, and the NGOs in her constituency, and my analysis. The question is: what do we do about it? That is why Britain, along with our allies, is continuously, on a 24/7 basis, doing everything practical that we can to get more food and support into Gaza.

David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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My right hon. Friend has mentioned the floating pier to be constructed by the United States. What assurances has he received that the pier will be used solely for the delivery of humanitarian aid and not, as has been suggested, subsequently repurposed for military use?

Andrew Mitchell Portrait Mr Mitchell
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It is early days yet to see precisely how that maritime initiative will deliver, but I do not believe that what my right hon. Friend fears will be allowed to happen as we tackle that issue. We are giving strong support to all mechanisms for getting aid into Gaza—air, sea and land—but he, like me, will understand that the best mechanism is always by land.

Gibraltar: UK-EU Negotiations

David Jones Excerpts
Monday 11th March 2024

(2 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley
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Level playing field provisions are normal elements of trade agreements with the EU, or anyone else. In line with what the UK agreed with the EU under the trade and co-operation agreement, commitments should be bilateral and reciprocal, not based on the rules of either party.

David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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By my reckoning, my hon. Friend has said no fewer than five times that the British Government will not agree to anything that compromises British sovereignty. However, it is clear from the letter from the Minister for Europe, my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Leo Docherty), that travellers arriving in Gibraltar will have to pass through Schengen immigration arrangements. How can it be the case that British travellers, arriving in British territory, will have to deliver their passports for inspection to a foreign border official and that not be incompatible with British sovereignty?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley
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We are seeking a mobility arrangement with the Schengen area to facilitate flow at the Gibraltar-Spain border. The arrangement would remove checks from the Gibraltar-Spain border. Instead, those arriving in Gibraltar would pass through Gibraltar immigration, followed by Schengen immigration. [Interruption.] The exact details of arrangements form part of the ongoing negotiation. In line with the December 2020 political framework, as a default those travelling to Gibraltar would undergo both Gibraltar immigration controls and Schengen entry checks.

Death of Alexei Navalny

David Jones Excerpts
Monday 19th February 2024

(3 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leo Docherty Portrait Leo Docherty
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I think the hon. Gentleman can sense that the House knows there is no equivalence.

David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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In 2020, Alexei Navalny was treated in hospital in Berlin, having been poisoned in Russia with a toxin subsequently identified as Novichok, also used in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018. Given the use of the same toxin in such similar circumstances, does my hon. Friend not agree that it is overwhelmingly likely that agents of the Russian state were responsible for the attempted murder of Navalny in 2020 and that the current protestations by the Russian state that it was not responsible for his death last week are entirely risible? How are the Government ensuring that those who are responsible are brought to book and tried before a court?

Leo Docherty Portrait Leo Docherty
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My right hon. Friend is correct. That is why we demand a full and transparent investigation, because those individuals involved must be held to account.

Israel and Hamas: Humanitarian Pause

David Jones Excerpts
Monday 27th November 2023

(6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Andrew Mitchell Portrait Mr Mitchell
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The position of the British Government on the illegal settlements is absolutely clear. On the possibility of having an envoy, a whole range of different envoys are engaged in this, but if it was appropriate for us to deploy an envoy on behalf of the Government—either a humanitarian or political envoy around the region—we would have no hesitation in doing so.

David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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Despite the pause over the last few days, the humanitarian situation in Gaza remains catastrophic and is likely to continue to be catastrophic. While no one doubts the right of Israel to defend itself, the fact is that it is an occupying power and as such has clear legal obligations to the civilians of Gaza, so when my right hon. Friend next speaks to his Israeli opposite number will he remind him of those obligations and ensure that even after the pause ends sufficient aid is allowed to get through to the population of Gaza?

Andrew Mitchell Portrait Mr Mitchell
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We are doing everything we can through the United Nations and other contacts in the region to ensure that aid and support gets through to those who need it so desperately in Gaza, and my right hon. Friend may rest assured that we will continue to do that.

Situation in Russia

David Jones Excerpts
Monday 26th June 2023

(11 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
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The hon. and gallant Gentleman makes the important point that Vladimir Putin has not only been lying to the world about his motivations for this war of aggression but lying to the Russian people about the implications. Maintaining that lie became increasingly difficult because of the events of this weekend. Of course our primary sympathy is with the people of Ukraine—their country is being brutalised, their people are being murdered, their women and children are being raped or stolen—but it is also the case, as Prigozhin said in his comments, that Russian soldiers are being used as cannon fodder by a Russian leader who does not care for them or their families. The more Russians see this, the more they will realise that they are just as much victims of Putin’s ego as anyone else in the world. The hon. and gallant Gentleman is absolutely right that the leadership of Russia is exclusively for the Russian people, but I think the Russian people will now see how very badly they have been led.

David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov announced today that he is content for the Wagner mercenary group to continue its activities in Africa notwithstanding Prigozhin’s role in the attempted coup over the weekend. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that statement simply serves to underline the increasing weakness of the Russian regime, but does he also agree that a leaderless Wagner is potentially even more dangerous and demands the most careful scrutiny by the United Kingdom and its allies?

James Cleverly Portrait James Cleverly
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My right hon. Friend makes an important point. It is not possible for us to predict and I do not intend to speculate, but he is absolutely right that the events over this weekend have made things potentially more dangerous and more predictable in all the places where Wagner is active, which is why we must and will keep a very close eye on Wagner Group activities not just in Ukraine but around the world. We will seek to show leaders who are relying on Wagner that their reliance on that mercenary group is wholly ill placed.

Overseas Territories

David Jones Excerpts
Thursday 11th May 2023

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns) on securing this important debate, in which we celebrate the diversity of the global family that is formed by the British overseas territories.

On a personal level, this debate is a timely one for me. With the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) and other members of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, I visited Gibraltar just two weeks ago. I am very pleased to see Dominique Searle, the special representative of the Chief Minister, in the Gallery. I would like to thank him for the excellent way he looked after us. During the visit, we met leaders from across Gibraltarian civil society, including the Governor, the Chief Minister and the vice-chancellor of the excellent new University of Gibraltar, whose chancellor is, of course, Mr Speaker.

As we have heard, PACAC has recently opened an inquiry into the status of the overseas territories in the 21st century—another reason why this debate is so timely. The motion quite properly calls on the Government to ensure that the rights of the citizens of the territories, as British citizens, are upheld. To be fair to the Government, and indeed to their predecessors, I believe that that is what they have been doing progressively over recent years, particularly as a consequence of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, under which the people of the overseas territories automatically became British citizens. That, I found, was particularly welcome in Gibraltar, where previously Gibraltarians had simply had the right to apply for British citizenship. That Britishness is a source of great pride to the people of Gibraltar and, I have no doubt, to the citizens of the other overseas territories.

Each territory is, of course, unique, as we have heard and as the motion acknowledges. The Cayman Islands and Bermuda have populations in excess of 60,000 and Gibraltar has a population of some 34,000, while Pitcairn has a population of only 40 to 50. The Government have a responsibility to take each territory’s individual circumstances into account when deciding on its future arrangements, and that is what I believe they do.

The Government must also—as the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown pointed out—consider the stance of the United Nations, whose special committee on decolonisation has judged that all 10 permanently inhabited overseas territories have not yet attained a measure of self-government. I would question that. Gibraltar, for example, enjoys a huge degree of self-government: it has an elected Parliament of 18 Members, with a Chief Minister and four other Ministers responsible for domestic issues, including taxation. Indeed, it is almost entirely self-governing, save in respect of external affairs, defence and internal security, which are reserved to the United Kingdom.

Constitutionally, the UK may legislate for the overseas territories. That plays into the narrative that appears to have been adopted by the special committee: that the territories continue in reality to be colonies. In the case of Gibraltar at least, I have no doubt that the Gibraltarians are entirely happy with the current position. They certainly would not regard themselves as colonials.

However, this issue has to be addressed constitutionally, as the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown pointed out. I believe that an important function of the inquiry that PACAC has launched will be to discuss and consider the options available to each individual overseas territory. I think that there is a strong argument for saying that, in the case of at least some of the territories, integration should be pursued and those territories should send a Member to this Parliament. That is what the French have done, for example, and there are very few arguments that the French overseas territories continue to be colonies.

Alicia Kearns Portrait Alicia Kearns
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I appreciate that many right hon. and hon. Members are making the point that we should have Members of Parliament for the overseas territories in this place, but it is important to reiterate that that should happen only if it is the wish of the overseas territories. When the Foreign Affairs Committee spoke to them, many said that they would not want that. I am not dismissing the argument, but I am saying that, crucially, that should happen only if the overseas territories see it as the best way for their voices to be heard in this place.

David Jones Portrait Mr Jones
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My hon. Friend makes an important point. Of course, the Government’s position is that the individual overseas territory should enjoy self-determination. I spoke to a number of Gibraltarians who were very keen on the idea of integration, and I am sure that that would be the case in a number of other overseas territories, too. PACAC will consider that in the context of its inquiry.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle Portrait Lloyd Russell-Moyle
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Was it not surprising that everyone we spoke to in Gibraltar and a number of people I have been contacted by from other overseas territories said, “I support it, but I’m sure someone else will be against it, and I don’t want to make waves.” There might well be overwhelming support, but it has never been properly tested by the populations of those areas.

David Jones Portrait Mr Jones
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The hon. Gentleman is entirely right. I do not think I met a single Gibraltarian who was averse to the idea of integration with the United Kingdom. This is something that we need to consider carefully.

It is clearly the case that many Gibraltarians now—particularly younger ones—regard a trip to the United Kingdom essentially as a bus trip; they use the easyJet and British Airways services quite routinely. They regard themselves already as de facto integrated with the United Kingdom, so the constitutional status of the overseas territories in that regard must be considered. To repeat, this will have to be carefully considered in the PACAC inquiry.

To conclude, the British overseas territories are important elements of the global British family and, as is clear from this debate, are highly valued by Members on both sides of the House. The Government and the House should be careful to ensure that their interests are reflected and protected, and those issues will be carefully considered by PACAC in the course of its inquiry.

Iran

David Jones Excerpts
Thursday 12th January 2023

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) on securing this important debate, and I thank the Backbench Business Committee for facilitating it.

It is no exaggeration to say that Iran is currently on a knife edge. The protests are growing in intensity and, sadly, the response of the Iranian regime’s forces is growing equally, with savagery. As we have heard, the protests stem from the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was arrested on the spurious charge of mal-veiling—of not wearing her hijab properly in the eyes of a member of the morality police. She was arrested and taken into custody. She was by all accounts treated brutally. She died of skull injuries. It is unsurprising that even in a deeply conservative Muslim state, such an event should give rise to such revulsion, but the popular reaction in Iran to Mahsa’s death has been nothing short of extraordinary. There are huge waves of anti-Government protests right across the country. By 28 December, it was calculated that the uprising had spread to more than 280 towns and cities across Iran and to all 31 provinces of the country. People have taken to the streets, many of them chanting anti-Government slogans. In itself, that is remarkable given the regime’s notorious sensitivity to even the mildest criticism. It is impossible to overstate what is going on at the moment.

Similarly, the response of the security forces has been savage in the extreme. People are losing their lives. It is estimated that in the past four months security forces have killed more than 750 demonstrators, over 70 of whom were young people under the age of 18. So far, more than 600 individuals killed in the protests have been identified by the principal opposition group, the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which also estimates that over 30,000 protesters have been detained. The regime is executing those protesters. So far, around 40 of them have been sentenced to death, most, as we have heard, on the extraordinary charge of waging war on God. Two young men, Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard, were hanged in December. Just a few days ago, Mohammad Mahdi Karami, aged only 22, and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, aged 39, were also executed. The UN Human Rights Office has, quite properly, condemned the executions, saying, as the hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton (Dr Huq) pointed out, that they followed

“unfair trials based on false confessions”.

Even as we speak, a 22-year-old young man, Mohammad Ghobadlou, and several others are awaiting the execution of a sentence of death. Mr Ghobadlou was sentenced to death for “spreading corruption on Earth”. According to Amnesty International, the prosecution relied on torture-based evidence, a confession that was relied on to convict him of running over officials with a car, killing one.

Families of the protesters awaiting execution staged protests outside the prison in which they are being held. They continue to protest, even though the security forces fire shots in the air in an attempt to disperse them. There is no doubt that these are exceptionally brave people who are willing to risk their lives to protest against the regime. Despite the harshness of the regime’s response, they remain undeterred. It is noticeable that most protesters are young and many are women. They come from all backgrounds: university and high school students, bazaar traders, manual workers, intellectuals, and people of all ethnic backgrounds and social classes. Thousands upon thousands of them continue to take to the streets, calling for the downfall of the regime and its leaders. It is very clear that what we are witnessing is a very active political movement of people who are no longer willing to put up with the medieval theocratic regime under which they have lived for more than 40 years, and who are seeking to replace it with a modern, democratic, secular Government.

These brave people deserve our support. I commend the Government for what they have already done. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has quite properly described the executions as abhorrent. The United Kingdom has been a driving force in securing the establishment of a fact-finding mission by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the numerous allegations of human rights violations during the uprising. The UK also secured the necessary votes to suspend Iran’s membership of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. All that is welcome, but there is, as other hon. Members have said, much more to be done. The UK should continue to lead the western response, helping to bring forward more concrete measures to deny the regime the ability to continue its repression, and to help the people of Iranian to realise their democratic aspirations. The UK, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, should lead the pressure for recognition of the rights of the Iranian people to defend themselves by any legitimate means available, given that the authorities have effectively declared war upon their own population.

As other hon. Members have said, it is surely now time for the Government to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in its entirety. The IRGC is the regime’s principal means of exerting control and repression of the Iranian people. Furthermore, it is one of the world’s foremost exporters of terror. I do not expect my hon. Friend the Minister to confirm today that the Government intend to proscribe the IRGC, but I was extremely pleased to read in newspaper reports a few days ago that that is what is going to happen. He may, of course, surprise us and we may learn that from him today.

John Cryer Portrait John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab)
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What the right hon. Gentleman says about the IRGC is entirely accurate. They are a bunch of clerical fascists who rape, kill and maim their way around Iran and outside Iran’s borders. I think there is a consensus across the House that the organisation should be banned, so what does he think is holding the Government up? I think there is sympathy among Ministers to ban the IRGC, but I cannot see what is stopping Ministers from finally making that decision.

David Jones Portrait Mr Jones
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The only conclusion I can come to is that the Government do not want to alert the IRGC on when it will happen. I think we all accept that it will happen and I would be astounded, given the noises we have heard over recent days, if it were not to happen.

The Government should also invoke the global human rights sanctions regulations against officials of the regime, including President Ebrahim Raisi, who, according to Amnesty International among others, was a member of the so-called death commission that extrajudicially executed thousands of political dissidents in secret in 1988—the notorious 1988 massacre of political prisoners. The Government should continue to work with international partners to impose a co-ordinated diplomatic boycott on Iran, and demand the immediate release of political prisoners. They should also work through the UN Security Council to insist on access to Iranian prisons and arrange for human rights officials to meet detained protesters.

To repeat, Iran is now on a knife edge. We are witnessing what may well become, and I hope does become, a transformational change in a country that has endured much over the last few decades. Iran is an important country. It is one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Now, the bravery of the Iranian people is finally presenting the prospect of a return to normality for Iran among the community of nations. We in this country must do everything we can to support them at this crucial time.

Iran

David Jones Excerpts
Wednesday 16th November 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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David Rutley Portrait David Rutley
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There may well be routes available for these individuals, and I will certainly bring it to Lord Ahmad’s attention.

David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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It has been clear for many years that Iran is a rogue state, presided over by gangsters posing as clerics and seeking to maintain control through the actions of thugs posing as police officers and militia. It is clear that the regime is terrified of losing that control, which is why it is now resorting to executing its own citizens for confected crimes. Does my hon. Friend agree that now is the time for the United Kingdom to position itself on the right side of history by declaring unequivocally that it supports the demands of the brave people of Iran for regime change in that country? I understand that he will not comment on what proscription the Government may be considering, but will he take it from me that very many hon. Members would be delighted if they woke up tomorrow morning to discover that the IRGC had been proscribed today?

David Rutley Portrait David Rutley
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I understand the points that my right hon. Friend makes. The destabilising activity of the IRGC, be it in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon or Syria, is very concerning, in the region and beyond. We are constantly keeping that proscription under review but, as he knows, I cannot comment at this stage.

Iran’s Nuclear Programme

David Jones Excerpts
Thursday 30th June 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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David Jones Portrait Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con)
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I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Robert Jenrick) and the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Steve McCabe) on securing the debate, and I thank the Backbench Business Committee for facilitating it. It is, for all the reasons set out by my right hon. Friend, a timely debate. It is also timely because it comes after the report of the board of governors of the IAEA on 30 May and the subsequent resolution of 8 June, which censures Iran for non-co-operation with the agency’s inquiry into nuclear traces found at three non-declared sites. That action on the part of the agency is certainly a step forward, but it goes nowhere near far enough.

Iran’s nuclear programme has been known about since 2002, when the existence of the facilities at Natanz and Arak were revealed by the Iranian democratic Opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. The Iranian regime has always asserted that its programme is for civilian purposes only and has always denied that it is attempting to produce nuclear weapons. That simply defies belief. As we have heard, despite the terms of the JCPOA, Iran started enriching uranium to 20% in 2010, and later the same year it moved to 60% enrichment. As my right hon. Friend pointed out, that is considerably beyond anything that is needed for civilian purposes.

In its report of 1 June, the Institute for Science and International Security concluded:

“Iran’s breakout timeline is now at zero. It has enough 60 percent enriched uranium or highly enriched uranium (HEU) to be assured it could fashion a nuclear explosive. If Iran wanted to further enrich its 60 percent HEU up to weapon-grade HEU, or 90 percent, it could do so within a few weeks with only a few of its advanced centrifuge cascades.”

Clearly the time pressure is enormous. The report went on to note:

“Whether or not Iran enriches its HEU up to 90 percent, it can have enough HEU for two nuclear weapons within one month after starting breakout.”

That is, by any standards, a very worrying state of affairs.

It is made all the more worrying by Iran’s increasingly erratic and aggressive stance in the region and, indeed, the wider world. As my right hon. Friend rightly pointed out, Iran is an active state sponsor of terrorism—probably the world’s leading state sponsor. Its proxies are engaged in fomenting conflict in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. My right hon. Friend mentioned the Istanbul incident; I would like to mention the incident in June 2018, when a bomb plot targeting a gathering of Iranian pro-democracy supporters in Paris was disrupted by the French and Belgian authorities. An Iranian diplomat accredited to the embassy in Vienna was subsequently convicted for leading the conspiracy and was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. Three accomplices were convicted, and their sentences were upheld, with two years added, by the court of appeal in Antwerp in May. Iran is certainly exporting terrorism not just throughout the region, but across the world.

Matthew Offord Portrait Dr Offord
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I feel the need to correct my right hon. Friend on that point. It was not just Iranian politicians and Opposition members who were targeted; five of us from the British Parliament were at risk of being blown up in that terrorist incident.

David Jones Portrait Mr Jones
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My hon. Friend is entirely right: it was a gathering of supporters of the NCRI, which takes place every year in Paris and attracts supporters from all round the world. As he points out, had that conspiracy been successful, its consequences would have been catastrophic.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Newark mentioned Iran’s revolutionary guard corps. That is, in effect, a state within a state. It directs, leads and executes the terrorist activities of Iran. As he pointed out, it is a proscribed organisation in the United States, and many will wonder why it is not proscribed in this country. I believe that it should be. Iran is already a global danger, but a nuclear-armed Iran is an appalling and unacceptable prospect.

The IAEA report makes it clear that the Iranian regime has, effectively, been playing games with the agency for many years. At three locations that the agency requested to visit, the regime razed buildings to the ground and removed structural material and soil, clearly in an effort to disguise what was happening there. Nevertheless, the agency discovered traces of anthropogenic nuclear material. The report states that the regime has

“not provided explanations that are technically credible”

for the presence of nuclear material in those locations. The Tehran regime has clearly shown by its actions that it has no intent whatever to co-operate in good faith with the IAEA. Not only is the regime taking steps to advance its enrichment programme by installing more advanced centrifuges; it is doing all it can to restrict the ability of IAEA inspectors to monitor its nuclear sites. It has turned off two devices that the agency relied on to monitor the enrichment of uranium gas at Natanz and initiated plans to remove 27 surveillance cameras from other nuclear facilities.

On 20 June, Reuters cited a confidential IAEA report, which revealed that:

“Iran is escalating its uranium enrichment further by preparing to use advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Fordow site that can more easily switch between enrichment levels”.

In a joint statement to the board of governors of the IAEA on 27 June, the UK, France and Germany expressed their concern about the continued nuclear activities in breach of the JCPOA. They pointed out that the alarming accumulation of enriched material is cause for great concern and is further reducing the time that it would take Iran to break out towards its first nuclear weapon.

The position, therefore, is that it is clearly known that Iran is taking active steps to produce highly enriched uranium, the only credible purpose of which can be to produce nuclear weapons. The question must be whether there is any purpose in continuing to urge Iran to fulfil its obligations under the JCPOA when it is perfectly clear that it has no intention whatever to do so. The continued efforts to engage with Iran and go the extra mile may be laudable, but, frankly, seem increasingly futile. Iran clearly regards the west as weak and is almost openly laughing at us.

A new course is called for. Consideration should be given to whether seeking to adhere to the JCPOA as the basis for our future dealings with Iran is realistic or sensible. Rather than clinging to vain hopes that Iran is capable of mending its ways and responding to the IAEA’s censure, the UK should work with the United States and other international partners to refer Iran to the UN Security Council with a view to reinstating the six sanctions-imposing resolutions that were suspended with the JCPOA’s initial implementation.

Iran must learn that flouting the JCPOA has real consequences, and the west should unite to apply the most intense pressure possible on Iran to wind up its nuclear programme, since it is now abundantly clear that it is not for any peaceful purpose, but is aggressive. Quite simply, Iran is a rogue state, and a rogue state in possession of nuclear weapons is not a prospect that the west can happily contemplate or, indeed, tolerate.