HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 cc318-9W
Mr. Dismore

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Foreign Minister of Iran during his forthcoming visit to the UK on behalf of the 13 Jews detained without trial; and if he will make a statement. [103029]

Mr. Hain

Yes, as we have done at every opportunity. We remain very concerned about this, as the Iranian Government are only too well aware.

Dr. Tonge

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on current diplomatic relations with Iran. [103208]

Mr. Hain

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary again met his Iranian counterpart Dr. Kharrazi at UNGA on 21 September. During this meeting they agreed to exchange visits. We hope that Dr. Kharrazi will visit early in the New Year and that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will visit Iran in the Spring.

We continue to look to co-operate with Iran in a number of practical fields and so develop the relationship to the benefit of both countries. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) announced to the House on 29 November 1999, Official Report, column 32W, an assistance package to help Iran in their battle to stem the flow of drugs through Iran from Afghanistan. The Permanent Under-Secretary for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also announced during his visit to Tehran on 28 November that the Department for International Development have approved an assistance package for the large number of refugees in Iran, where for too long Iran has borne a heavy burden without international help.

Our policy, in line with that of our EU partners, remains to encourage the reforms already underway in Iran while pressing for improvements in those Iranian policies that are of concern.

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