Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Iran

Delivered in Plenary - 12th October 2005

Mr President

Iran remains a major headache for the EU and for our ally, the United States. There is the issue of Iran’s attempts over the last 20 years to master uranium enrichment technology in a covert fashion with aid from Pakistan’s A. Q. Khan and his nuclear technology bazaar. It is clear to any Iran watcher that its hard-line fundamentalist government, in spite of its public denials, is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb and that enriching uranium to military grade is central to its security strategy. Paragraph 12 of the resolution, therefore, is particularly appeasing in this respect and unacceptable. As Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, this is also totally out of the question. I fully support the recent resolution of the IAEA which paves the way for an eventual referral to the Security Council.

I believe all options must be left open to prevent nuclear proliferation. We do not want a repeat of the example of North Korea, which got away with withdrawing from the NPT. And by the way, what did Nobel Peace Prize Laureate ElBaradei and the IAEA do to prevent the DPRK’s acquiring of nuclear weapons?

If it comes to UN sanctions Iran could usefully be denied access to the uranium ore as a raw material as it has only got about 35 tonnes of yellow cake uranium at present, which is enough to make one or two bombs at most. I also agree that Iran has an appalling human rights record, including executing minors for sexual misdemeanours, and even pregnant women. I believe it is the only country in the world which executes pregnant women.

Lastly, I condemn Iran’s role through its terrorist proxy Hizbollah– which I call again on the Council to ban – in supporting the insurgency in Iraq and in supplying sophisticated bombs which are killing British and American soldiers and therefore preventing peace, the establishment of democracy and the reconstruction of that blighted country.