Summer 2008 Parliamentary Records: British Policy on Iran

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insurgents. We further recommend that the Government supports greater cooperation with Iran on counter-narcotics. (Paragraph 77)

9.  We conclude that, should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, it is very likely to lead to other states in the Middle East developing their own weapon programmes. This domino effect would heighten regional tensions and seriously weaken the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It would also seriously undermine any prospect of moves to a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. (Paragraph 82)

The Domestic Dimension

10.  We conclude that Iran is a complex and diverse society at present governed by a theocratic regime. Iran's quasi-democratic political system is not fully closed and may lead to reform that will result in a more constructive approach on the nuclear issue. We recommend that the Government should be careful to avoid action that could be manipulated by the hardliners such as President Ahmadinejad to bolster their position against the more pragmatic and reformist elements ahead of his campaign for re-election in 2009. We recommend that the Government in its Response to this Report sets out fully why it has resisted the decisions of both the High Court in the UK and the European Court of Justice that the People's Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), should no longer be listed as a terrorist organisation. (Paragraph 98)

11.  We conclude that Iran's human rights record is shocking. We recommend that the Government presses Iran to remove the death penalty, which includes hanging by strangulation, stoning, flogging and amputation from its statute books. We further recommend that the Government ensures human rights are not treated as a secondary concern to the nuclear issue, and that it underlines to Iran that its poor record in responding to human rights concerns makes it more difficult for the international community to trust its intentions in other fields. (Paragraph 103)

Options for the International Community

12.  We conclude that the fundamental challenge of Iran's nuclear programme is one of mutual political mistrust—mistrust that is not misplaced on the part of the United States and the European Union. We further conclude that a long-term solution to this crisis will need to go beyond the necessary constraints on Iran's nuclear programme by eventually working towards a wholesale recasting of its relationship with the international community, particularly with the United States and European Union. (Paragraph 109)

13.  We conclude that although the sanctions currently in place against Iran act as a disincentive for its nuclear programme, they are not sufficiently robust to coax it into suspending its enrichment. We are concerned that the new political dynamic following the publication of the US National Intelligence Estimate, and underlying differences within the international community, mean future UN and EU sanctions are likely to remain ineffective and may inadvertently help President Ahmadinejad by providing him with a scapegoat for his economic failings. We recommend that the Government in framing its sanctions policy does its utmost to try to preserve unity within the UN Security Council and the EU. (Paragraph 117)

14.  We conclude that it seems very unlikely that Iran will accept the demand that it suspend enrichment before substantive talks can begin. It feels it got little reward for its previous suspension, and its present Government has ramped up nationalist feeling on this issue. This stalemate is in no-one's interest but simply pressing for a resumption of Iran-US dialogue without an end to President Ahmadinejad's defiance of UN resolutions will strengthen him and dismay and weaken reformers. We recommend therefore that the Government urges the current US Administration to change its policy and begin to engage directly with Iran on its nuclear programme, as the absence of such engagement has deprived the international