The UK has always been clear-sighted about its engagement with Iran. I join Ministers in wanting to see Iran come in from the cold, but that can happen only if Iran shows the respect required for the basic principles of the rules-based international system. Iran’s violations are not mere technical breaches. They are serious and systemic destabilising actions. Those actions must have consequences.

The main focus of the UK Government is to de-escalate this issue. The Prime Minister, from the outset, has spoken to President Trump, President Macron, Chancellor Merkel and President Erdoğan and will continue to engage with other world leaders. The Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary have been talking to their counterparts. Alongside these efforts, the UK is working with France and Germany to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), the nuclear deal, which is a vital step to achieving a more stable Iran.

In the coming days, Ministers will be doing all they can to encourage Iran to take a different path. No one should be under any illusion. Long before the death of General Soleimani, Iran had stepped up its destabilising activities in the region. Whether it was targeting dissidents in Europe or hijacking civilian ships, this aggressive behaviour was never going to go unchallenged. The UK stands ready to continue engagement with all sides in order to contribute to defuse tensions and restore stability to the region.


Last updated January 2020