Yesterday, dozens of Conservative MPs raised their concerns about Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East. A House of Commons statement was made in light of the targeted killing of General Soleimani on Friday morning and Iran’s subsequent retaliation and withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).
The Secretary of State for Defence, Rt. Hon. Ben Wallace MP highlighted the nefarious history of General Soleimani, referencing his supply of weaponry to proxy forces in Iraq and Afghanistan alongside “how he fomented instability in places like Basra, where British forces were stationed”.
The Defence Secretary went on to express that the UK Government believes “further conflict is in no one’s interest”, urging “all people – all parties – to de-escalate as soon as possible”. He elaborated that retaliation would only serve to benefit terrorists and extremists seeking capitalise of the potential chaos.
Suella Braverman MP raised concerns about the implications of Soleimani’s alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas, and urged the Government to support Israel in light of Iran’s explicit threat of revenge. Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon MP continued to raise Iran’s financial and military support for Hezbollah and questioned the UK Government on the steps they are taking to contain the threat of Hezbollah to Israel and the wider region.
Rt. Hon. Dr Liam Fox MP said: “we need to accept that the JCPoA has, in effect, been dead since American withdrawal” and called for a “more comprehensive agreement” to maintain stability in the region. On a similar note, Matthew Offord MP highlighted the JCPoA’s facilitation of “millions of pounds, in addition to manpower and resources, to pour into Syria to continue that war and kill thousands of people”.
Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP stated that “Iran’s policy has been to escalate all conflict across the Middle East” as a result of General Soleimani’s position of authority.
The Secretary of State for Defence said in response: “Iran has not served its people well; it has led them down a cul-de-sac and it has led the Middle East to a less stable, not more stable, position”.
Rt. Hon. Mark Harper MP criticised the JCPoA’s uncomprehensive nature and its failure to cover Iran’s terrorist actions, including those carried out by General Soleimani. He called on the Government to “kick-start and use what has happened as a diplomatic opportunity for peace” by widening the JCPoA’s remit to cover all of Iran’s malign activities.
The Member of Parliament for Chelmsford, Vicky Ford MP, said: “It is obviously vital for global security that Iran does not achieve ownership of nuclear weapons”.
The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Rt. Hon. Dr Andrew Murrison, has condemned Iran’s actions over recent months as a “catalogue of failures by Iran to respect international law, norms and practices”.
Among other Conservative MPs to speak were former Foreign Affairs Select Committee Chair Tom Tugendhat MP, former Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood MP, and Alicia Kearns who made her maiden speech in the House of Commons.
Watch videos of the debate on CFI’s Twitter account.