At a parliamentary session in the House of Commons on June 30, members of the British House of Commons expressed grave concerns at the imminent prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, calling on the UK Government to seek to extend the sunset clauses in light of any nuclear negotiations, enact a stricter monitoring regime, designate the Iranian regime’s IRGC and other proxy terrorist groups and restore 6 Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council against Tehran in case of the regime’s continued cheating.
Robert Edward Jenrick, Conservative MP from Newark and the initiator of the debate said: “I am on the record as having been very skeptical of the original 2015 deal, believing it to be too limited in scope to prevent Iran’s malign activities and far too weak in enforcement to prevent a nuclear Iran, should Iran choose that path.”
“Iran stands on the verge of possessing a nuclear bomb. In fact, intelligence suggests it has sufficient enriched uranium today for at least two nuclear weapons. It has progressed far beyond the parameters of the JCPOA, so restoring Iran to the old deal has none of the benefits we once thought it would. The JCPOA’s time has been and gone; the Rubicon has been crossed.”
“The Iranian regime brutally represses, persecutes, and tortures its own people. It wastes the Iranian people’s resources on terrorism, foreign aggression, missiles, and nuclear-weapon capabilities. I hope to see the day when we and our partners have no need for sanctions on Iran or the proscription of its affiliates. I hope to see the day when the UK and Iran can enjoy normalized relations and when the people of Iran have a government who respects human dignity and exist in peace with their neighbors, but that day will not come if we provide sanctions relief to fuel the regime’s corruption, incompetence, and terrorism. Nor will the day come through weak and naive responses to the pursuit of and now the establishment of nuclear-weapon capabilities. I humbly urge the UK Government to change course, to learn from the first JCPOA’s failures, to listen to the concerns of many across the House and our partners in the region, and to work with us and them to impose maximum pressure on Iran,” Mr. Jenrick concluded.
“It is not only the potential for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons that is a concern, but its ability then to deliver those weapons through ballistic missiles. Clearly Iran has enhanced its capability in that regard and could if it has nuclear weapons, deliver them now,” Conservative MP Bob Blackman stated.
“The UK and other western participants in the JCPOA must abandon their flawed approach to the nuclear deal and, as colleagues have mentioned, refer the regime’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council and reinstate previous UN Security Council resolutions that were suspended by the JCPOA.”
“Iran is the world’s premier supporter of terror. The IRGC was rightfully proscribed by the United States in 2019 and I, like others, have been worried that the US is considering delisting it at Iran’s request. Far from delisting it, the United Kingdom should proscribe the IRGC, as should the rest of the west. However, despite the fact that one of our closest allies proscribed the revolutionary guard corps, we continue to drag our heels while Iran’s spider web of terror stretches across the middle east and beyond and begins to grasp at Europe, on our doorstep.”
“We must show the Iranian people that we are willing to hold the IRGC accountable for its nefarious activities in ways that the moderates of Iran cannot for fear of death and destruction. I simply ask the Minister: how many more terrorists must the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fund, how many more innocents must die, and how many more must it kidnap before we finally proscribe it as a terror organization?”
David Jones, Conservative Member of Parliament for Clwyd West said: “Iran’s nuclear program 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 program is for civilian purposes only and has always denied that it is attempting to produce nuclear weapons.”
“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.”
“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,” Mr. Jones called.
Steve McCabe, Labor MP for Birmingham stated: “Iran is responsible for waging war, terrorism, and violence—mostly through its proxies—in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories. The UK has rightly banned some of those proxies, but not all their front organizations. The Government should do more and look at proscribing Hezbollah and Hamas.”
“Iranian disinformation efforts, run by the IRGC, have significantly expanded since 2015. There is mounting evidence of interference in UK domestic politics, including last year’s Scottish Parliament elections. The UK Government should urgently draw up proposals for how they intend to combat and disrupt that interference.”
“Iran’s policy of arbitrarily detaining foreign nationals, most prominently Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, demands coordinated international action. The Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office must be bold enough to call this activity what it is—state hostage-taking. We should use the UK’s position at the UN to lead and develop a proper response from the international community.”
“Should it prove impossible to secure a satisfactory deal, which I think is pretty inevitable, I concur with the right hon. Member for Clwyd West (Mr. Jones) that the UK and other western participants should refer the regime’s nuclear activities to the UN Security Council, and we should immediately seek to reinstate the six resolutions that were suspended in good faith because of the JCPOA,” Mr. McCabe stated.
Dr. Andrew Murrison, MP for South West Wiltshire said: “Those who believe Iran will settle for a deal in order to trade with the west misread the ideological basis of the regime and its President. They seek nothing less than the complete Islamization of society and the elimination of western influence. Tehran has no desire to be our partner, even less our friend. Let us be quite clear in separating the good and great people of Iran from the regime: the two are plainly different things, as recent shows of unrest have demonstrated, and we should encourage the one and not the other.”
“The Iran of 2022 is very different from the Iran of 2015. Hardliners and the IRGC have tightened their stranglehold over the state and the economy. President Raisi has populated Ministries with Guards commanders responsible for atrocious acts of terrorism. We recall, as has been recalled already today—correctly so—his participation in the 1988 death committee, and in the extrajudicial murder of some 4,000 political prisoners.”
Jim Shannon, Democratic Unionist Party MP for Strangford stated: “The dire situation could not be clearer, so our corresponding action must be just as clear, firm, and immediate. I respectfully ask the Minister and her Department to act appropriately. I am keen to hear what more action we can take. Strongly worded statements are not enough. It is vital for the future of the planet and this world that nuclear arms are kept away from unstable nations and Governments such as those in Iran who have proven themselves not to be honest and open when it comes to their aims. Iran seeks the wanton destruction of Israel and other parts of the western world. We need to be vigilant, prepared, and ready. We look to our Minister for a satisfactory response.”
Gareth Davies, Conservative MP from Grantham and Stamford said: “Why has Iran enriched to 60%? Why has it turned off 27 surveillance cameras? Why has it developed uranium metal, which has no civilian use but lots of use in developing nuclear weapons? All the while, as my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) said, it has developed a significant ballistic missile program, and it has had the gall to call for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to be declassified as a terrorist organization. Those are not the actions of a state willing to engage in peace talks or one that seeks to build trust with anyone.”
“Because of the infamous sunset provisions in the 2015 deal, Iran will be able to legitimately undertake a full nuclear program,” Dr. Matthew Offord, Conservative MP for Hendon said. “That means that we could be facing a nuclear Iran as early as 2025. Without doing anything, we are already in a very difficult and dangerous scenario.”
James Sunderland, Conservative MP from Bracknell said: “I suspect that it is pragmatic at this stage to call on the Government to extend the sunset clauses, enact a stricter monitoring regime, retain terrorist proscriptions, reinforce existing friendships and relationships with allies in the middle east and press against Iran’s destabilizing impacts in the region, but I would want to see a way forward in which Iran is at the table as part of a solution. But, of course, nothing should be off the table.
Bambos Charalambous, Labour MP for Enfield Southgate and the Shadow Minister for the Middle East and North Africa said: “We cannot talk about Iran without discussing wider issues, many of which have been rightly raised by other Members today. Although the JCPOA is a critical agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear capability, it does not address Tehran’s ballistic missiles program, which is designed to deliver nuclear weapons, or its support for terrorist groups and militias throughout the middle east, including Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen.”
Exhibiting the stance of the British government, Vicky Ford, the Minister for Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean stated: “Time after time, we have seen Iran take actions that directly undermine global security, freedom, and democracy, and challenge the international order. The UK is taking a tough stance: Iran must end its threatening behavior and destabilizing regional activity and must also return to its JCPOA commitments.”
“The UK has long made clear our concern about Iran’s reckless destabilizing activity in the region, including the political, financial, and military support that it gives to militants and proscribed terrorist groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, to militias in Iraq and to the Houthis in Yemen.”
“Iran’s support for these groups and activities risk the security and prosperity in the region. They pose a direct threat to the UK and to our interests as well as to the safety of our allies. Regional security and that of our allies remain one of our top concerns, and we are working with allies to constrain Iran’s ability to conduct destabilizing activities in the region. We will continue to do so, whether or not a deal is signed.”
“My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon mentioned the Paris bomb plot and his experiences at that time. The UK Government always strongly condemns the targeting of civilians and we welcome the fact that those responsible for that plot in Paris in 2018 have been held to account. We also welcome the work by the Belgian courts in convicting four individuals last year, including Asadollah Asadi, who received a 20-year sentence.”
“Let me conclude by saying that it is in no one’s interest to see a nuclear-armed Iran. The UK is firm in its commitment to the security and prosperity of our allies in the region, and to working with the international community to hold Iran to account for its destabilizing activity. We urge and will continue to urge, Iran to cease its nuclear escalation and to conclude the deal currently on the table to restore the JCPOA while that is still possible. If that does not happen, we will work with our international partners to consider all options.”