LFI chair: UK Government must act before Iran missile ban lapses

LFI chair Steve McCabe MP has written the below article for the Jewish Chronicle. Click here to read the original.

Chris McAndrew, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Iran possesses the largest and potentially most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East.

Yet incredibly, in October, Britain and our European allies are set to end all sanctions relating to this programme.

This is due to interrelated deadlines tied to the 2015 nuclear deal – an agreement which Iran has repeatedly and consistently violated.

The first relates to the lapse of provisions of UN Security Council resolution 2231, which underpins the nuclear deal, prohibiting Iranian ballistic missile tests and the transfer of related technology.

The other, under the deal’s implementation timetable, the EU and Britain will remove their various sanctions related to the missile programme.

Even before Donald Trump’s reckless decision to unilaterally pull America out of the nuclear deal, Iran had been violating the spirit and intent of the restrictions, conducting banned tests, proliferating missiles to its proxies in the region, procuring banned technology from North Korea, and, of course, transferring drones to Russia for Putin’s war against Ukraine.

Given this record – and Iran’s multiple breaches of the nuclear accord itself – it would be bizarre for Britain and the EU to allow sanctions on the likes of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force and front companies tied to the Ministry of Defence to end.

It will also allow a dangerous gap to emerge with Washington which continues to work to limit Iranian missile procurement and production and, instead, effectively underwrite Iran’s ambitions at the very moment it is expanding its usage in Ukraine.

The Iranian government is now totally in the hands of hardliners, like President Ebrahim Raisi, who are closely tied to the ideological warriors of the IRGC.

At a time when the regime is continuing to jail, torture and execute protesters, we must show that we stand with the people, not their oppressors.

Firstly, together with the EU, we should announce we will not allow the sanctions to lapse. Secondly, we should restore the “Iran List” – a government trade watch list of organisations which might potentially be of concern.

For too long, as Iran has shredded the nuclear deal, the UK government has stood on the side-lines, seemingly paralysed by inaction.

In October, it faces a stark choice which can’t be side-stepped: to appease Tehran or to stand up to it.