Conservative parliamentarians in Foreign Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) Questions and in written parliamentary questions this week expressed concerns about the expiry of the UN arms embargo on Iran.
It comes as Foreign Ministers from the UK, France and Germany on Thursday agreed to reject US calls to snapback all UN sanctions on Iran. The arms embargo is due to expire in October.
In Parliament, CFI Vice-Chairman Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP called on the UK to back the extension of the arms embargo, underlining that “unless it’s extended, Iran will no doubt have more access to weapons to oppress their own people and spread death and terror through proxies like Hezbollah”.
She asked the Foreign Secretary: “Why did the UK abstain on a resolution to extend the embargo? What action is the Foreign Secretary going to take to make sure that it stays in place?”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stated in his response that “the UK’s position is clear: we want to see the continuation of the arms embargo”, but argued that the resolution has to pass through the UN Security Council.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugendhat MBE MP asked the Foreign Secretary “that the UK will read the letter of the treaty of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231, and recognise that any of the named states has the opportunity to snapback sanctions on the violating state of Iran”.
He also emphasised that “one of the reasons for the proximity between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is the pressure put on both by the Iranian regime”.
In response, the Foreign Secretary stressed that the UK is working with “all our allies to try to make sure we limit and hold to account Iran” for its destabilising activities in the region.
Paul Holmes MP highlighted in his question that the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, “did not include terms relating to Iran’s financing of terrorism and development of ballistic missiles”, underlining that a “new deal addressing these issues is vitally needed”.
In parliamentary written question, Gareth Bacon MP asked the Foreign Secretary “what progress has been made in discussions with international partners to address the expiry of the UN conventional arms embargo on Iran in October 2020″. Middle East Minister James Cleverly replied: “We have serious concerns regarding the implications for regional security of the scheduled expiry of the UN conventional arms embargo. We are considering all options both inside and outside of the UN Security Council (UNSC). We continue to be guided by the need to uphold the authority and integrity of the UNSC and to advance regional security and stability”.
In a separate FCDO question, Royston Smith MP asked the Middle East Minister James Cleverly what conversations he has had with Gulf counterparts to help Lebanon recover following last month’s blast in Beirut, as well as raising concerns about funding going to Hezbollah.
Responding to a question about violence between Hamas and Israel from Labour MP Wayne David, Foreign Secretary Raab underlined: “First, we need to see an end to the targeting of civilians and the firing of IEDs by Hamas into Israel. That is unlawful and totally unacceptable”.