HC Deb 09 December 1986 vol 107 cc172-3
13. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what contacts his Department has had with Iranian officials in the past three years concerning infrastructure contracts and military spare parts.

Mr. Archie Hamilton

A number of meetings took place in 1984. There have been none since then.

Mr. Alton

As meetings took place on 20 and 31 October this year between representatives of International Military Sales, a company which is wholly owned by the Ministry of Defence, and Iranian officials, how does that fact square with the Minister's answer and the Prime Minister's statement that a no arms sales policy had been pursued scrupulously and consistently? Will the Minister say what took place during those meetings on 20 and 31 October?

Mr. Hamilton

The hon. Gentleman's question asked about contacts that my Department had with Iranian officials. IMS is controlled by the Department, but it operates independently. It has been concerned merely with contracts that existed before the revolution. It has been negotiating about them. It has conducted no arms sales since the revolution.

Mr. Latham

Can my hon. Friend confirm—I hope he can—that the contacts have not led to any arms sales to Iran in contravention of our policies, especially if we are not prepared to sell to the Israelis defensive clothing against chemical weapons?

Mr. Hamilton

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There have been no new sales of equipment by IMS. It has been concerned only with existing contracts and deliveries in respect of them.

Mr. McNamara

What has been delivered, even in retrospective contracts? Does it not break the spirit of what the Prime Minister said, if not the facts of the situation? We should have stopped all deliveries, whether or not the contracts were pre-Shah.

Mr. Hamilton

Under the existing contracts, anything sold has been of a non-lethal nature.

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