Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Iran and the international community

Delivered in Plenary - 15th February 2006

Mr President

For some years Iran has sought to export its fundamentalist revolution beyond its Shia lands to Sunni population areas, including Palestine, where, through Syria and its proxy terrorist Hezbollah, it liaises with Islamic Jihad and Hamas, both committed to theocracies under Sharia law. A nuclear-armed Iran is therefore particularly dangerous to Western security, and that of Israel in particular.

There is no consensus on how to deal with Iran, which is in clear breach of the NPT Treaty and its agreements with Britain, France and Germany, but I welcome the 3 February vote by the IAEA to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council. I also welcome China and Russia’s belated support. The traditional compact – whereby Iran supports Russia in the OIC over Chechnya in exchange for Russian support in supplying nuclear technology, and its Security Council veto when necessary – seems now to be dissolving.

China naturally rejects further nuclear proliferation and is also worried by its own home-grown Islamist threats. Iran’s intransigence and refusal of the reasonable Russian offer on enrichment of uranium has been a wake-up call to Russia and China. Only Syria, Cuba and Venezuela rejected the proposal. The Iranians immediately pledged to resume commercial-scale enrichment of uranium, which can be used either as a fuel for power plants or, as they really wish, in the core of an atom bomb. They have ordered an end to the unannounced visits by the IAEA inspectors.

Western intelligence alleges that Iran is using a network of front companies to try and buy components for missile and bomb production from western Europe and to hire impoverished nuclear scientists from the former Soviet Union. I agree with all those who say that all options must be left available to the West to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. I ridicule the appeasing statement by the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who claims that military action is inconceivable, whereas his boss, Prime Minister Tony Blair, rightly refuses to rule it out.