John Baron MP welcomes IAEA conclusion of no Iranian nuclear weapons programme

December 18, 2015
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MP recalls 285-6 Commons defeat when advocating greater diplomacy

This week the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) closed its 12-year investigation into possible nuclear weapons development in Iran. The IAEA concluded that Iran conducted work towards nuclear weapons in 2003, and to a lesser extent in 2009, but that no evidence of this has been found since. Concerns amongst the international community about the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon led to severe tensions with Iran, which reached a head in 2011/12.

At the time, John cited the lack of evidence of a nuclear weapons programme and has long advocated better relations between Iran and the West. In February 2012, he sponsored a back bench debate calling on the Government to rule out military action against Iran and pursue an exclusively diplomatic process on the nuclear issue. John’s motion was defeated 285-6.

John said,

“The announcement by the IAEA is welcome, and vindicates the diplomatic emphasis that some of us in Parliament have long advocated – even when defeated 285-6. There has been no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme for some time. Military action against Iran, which a number of governments were seriously considering at one stage, would have been catastrophic and made nuclear weapons development much more likely.”

“Having recently returned from a visit to Tehran with the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am pleased to say relations are now much better and offer the potential to secure common objectives, such as the defeat of Daesh.”

Ends
Word Count: 260
Date: 18th December 2015

Notes to Editors:
• John’s speech from the 2012 debate on Iran is online at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120220/debtext/120220-0002.htm#12022015000201.
• He has been a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee since 2010.
• The IAEA’s statement is a key step towards lifting the international sanctions régime against Iran. These could now be lifted as early as the middle of January. The statement follows on from the nuclear deals struck between the international community in Iran in both November 2013 and April 2015.
• The statement is online at: https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/gov-2015-72.pdf.

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