Neil Parish MP urges caution on Iranian Nuclear Deal

Neil Parish MP, speaking in Westminster Hall debate on Iran and the proposed nuclear deal, expressed his concerns over the ability of the international community to enforce Iranian compliance with the terms of the provisional agreement.

Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton) (Con): It is good to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone, and I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb) for securing this debate.

I want to discuss the principles behind the forthcoming agreement. American Presidents in their second term are—dare I say it?—dangerous, because they are looking to leave legacies, and those who might struggle to leave a legacy look even harder. We must be careful that that is not what the agreement is about. I have much respect for my hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk (Mr Bacon), who is a great friend of mine, but I entirely disagree with him. Will there be a pecking order for terrorism as to which groups are the worst? I think not. In our desire, which is quite right, to have Iranian help to deal with ISIS, I worry that we are blind to what is actually happening in Iran. We must be careful if we take that line.

Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham) (Con): The point has been made that Iran is supporting the international community to defeat Daesh or Faesh. I think that that is completely wrong. The G7 statement says that we must first defeat the Assad regime to defeat Daesh, but as long as Iran is supporting the Assad regime, we cannot defeat Daesh or Faesh. That point must be clear.

Neil Parish: My hon. Friend makes a good point. The middle east is complex and contains states such as Iran that will sponsor terrorism. It is something that none of us wants to foresee, but the idea of Iran, with its attitudes towards its neighbours, especially towards Israel, having a nuclear weapon and being capable of using it is abominable.

Why does Iran need so much enriched uranium? We could go through the figures all day, but I do not intend to go into them again. I do not believe that Iran needs uranium just to create nuclear power stations; it wants to enrich it. Why does Iran not allow proper access for us to see what is going on? If we were allowed better access, we could stand up in this Chamber and say what a delight it is that we are able to go all over Iran and see exactly what it is enriching and what it is not, but we have no real idea, because we are not allowed access. We have a fairly good estimate of what might be going on, which in itself is far too much.

I am from the west of England and have the same trouble as my hon. Friend from the north of England, the hon. Member for Brigg and Goole (Andrew Percy) in pronouncing such words, but consider the Bushehr nuclear power station. It uses Russian technology— I first upset the Americans and now the Russians, so I will perhaps upset everyone this morning—and I am not always delighted with Russian technology or with Russian nuclear power stations. The idea of such a combination does not bode well. It no good our sitting here, putting our rose-tinted glasses on and saying, “Let’s do a deal with Iran”—dare I say it?—“at all costs.” I have great faith in the Minister here today and Britain must stand up and be sensible about this matter. If we are actually to reduce terrorism in the middle east and to make the region more secure, we cannot possibly have an Iran with the capability to make a nuclear bomb.

The agreement mentions 10 to 15 years of control, but that is just not enough. Ten to 15 years passes almost in the blink of an eye. I would love to think that we could talk of a wonderfully peaceful middle east in 10 to 15 years. Call me cynical, but I do not believe that that will be the case—although I hope that it is. We must stand up to such states. It is no good sitting here saying, “It’s okay. Let’s have an agreement and brush all the problems under the carpet because they don’t really exist.” Oh yes they do. They exist and Iran will have that capability.

We have debated the matter thoroughly this morning. We need to have our eyes open. I want to hear from the Minister about the British position and not about some nice, cosy and lovely agreement that makes everyone feel warm. What is actually happening in Iran? What are we doing about getting inspectors in? I cannot see how we can sign any agreement until we know exactly what is going on.

Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 16 June 2015, c14WH)