Signing a nuclear deal with Iran ‘would destabilise the Middle East’

·3 min read
The original Iran nuclear deal saw Tehran agree to curb its nuclear development in return for the lifting of economic sanctions - IRINN
The original Iran nuclear deal saw Tehran agree to curb its nuclear development in return for the lifting of economic sanctions - IRINN

The renegotiated Iran nuclear deal would destabilise the Middle East if adopted, three former Tory Cabinet ministers will argue on Thursday in a warning shot to the Government.

Robert Jenrick, the former communities secretary, Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, and Stephen Crabb, the former Welsh secretary, are all backing a critical motion to be debated in Parliament.

The motion lists a string of proposed changes to the draft agreement, which seeks to curb Iran’s drive towards developing nuclear weapons.

The ideas include bringing in a stricter regime of monitoring on Iran’s nuclear activity and adopting tougher policing of Tehran’s “destabilising” activities.

The original Iran nuclear deal was struck in 2015 and was signed with the UK, US, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union.

It saw Tehran agree to curb its nuclear development in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

In recent years there have been attempts to negotiate a new deal after Donald Trump withdrew America from the agreement, which was called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), effectively triggering its collapse.

The Tory MPs and other supporters of the motion from Labour and the Liberal Democrats are understood to be concerned by the current reworked agreement, which remains subject to negotiations.

UK expected to sign up to new deal

A new Iran nuclear deal could be announced within weeks, with the UK as an original signatory expected to once again sign up.

The motion to be debated on Thursday reads: “This House expresses grave concern at the imminent prospect of a nuclear armed Iran; calls on the Government in its ongoing negotiations in respect of the JCPOA agreement to seek to extend the sunset clauses, enact a stricter monitoring regime, retain terrorist proscriptions, and expand its scope to include Iran’s other destabilising activities in the region.”

The motion if passed will not be binding on the Government but the debate could indicate the scale of opposition on the Tory benches to the renegotiated agreement.

Mr Jenrick, who was in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet until last autumn and was key in drafting the motion, called for a much tougher approach to the talks.

Mr Jenrick told The Telegraph: “The JCPOA was an inadequate response to Iran’s nuclear programme back in 2015. Why would we return to the deal when it has singularly failed to curtail Iran’s uranium enrichment?”

He added: “At this critical juncture, the West urgently needs to change tack in its strategy. Weakly tolerating Iran’s aggression and flagrant breaches out of fear of talks collapsing has led us down a dangerous path.

“It is time for a more robust approach, reimposing snapback sanctions on Iran and tightening the economic screw until Iran is willing to countenance serious proposals.

“And the UK should follow in the footsteps of the US and proscribe the Iranian revolutionary guards corps a terrorist organisation.”

However supporters of the deal argue it stopped Iran pursuing nuclear weapons and only collapsed when Mr Trump withdrew the US.