HC Deb 28 June 1988 vol 136 cc189-90W
Mr. Wareing

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the current state of Her Majesty's Government's relations with Iran.

Mr. Mellor

We are well aware of the strategic, political and economic importance of Iran. We have followed closely the events in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. We respect the right of the Iranian people to have the form of government of their choosing. We remain critical of the Iranian Government's record on human rights and respect for other international conventions. For example, two British citizens, Roger Cooper and Nicolas Nicola, have been detained in Tehran, without trial and without consular access, in breach of the Vienna convention on consular relations. In addition, Iran continues to make unlawful attacks on unarmed merchant vessels, including British ships in the Gulf.

Furthermore, violations of diplomatic immunity such as the detention of a British diplomat, Mr. Chaplin in May 1987 represent deliberate flouting of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations. We did not seek the deterioration in relations which took place from May 1987. We stand ready to build a more constructive and businesslike relationship with Iran. However, as I told the House in response to a question from the hon. Member for East Lothian, (Mr. Home Robertson) on 1 July 1987, constructive dialogue can only prosper on a basis of reciprocity and provided we receive credible assurances on the security of British diplomats in Tehran.