COMMONS

Terms of reference: UK policy towards Iran inquiry

02 December 2013

Since the 1979 Revolution the UK’s relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran has been difficult, and hit a new low in 2011 when the Tehran embassy was attacked and the UK withdrew its staff, reducing diplomatic relations to the lowest possible level.

Hassan Rouhani’s victory in the June 2013 Presidential elections, and his public commitment to reaching a deal with the international community on Iran’s nuclear programme, raised hopes of better and more normal relations between Iran and the West; hopes that appear to have been partially realised in the signing of a joint plan of action between Iran and the EU3+3 group of nations on 24 November.

The UK and Iran have also recently taken their first steps towards repairing diplomatic relations, with the reciprocal appointments of non-resident Charges D’Affaires.

However, policy-makers continue to have serious concerns over Iran’s foreign policy and human rights record, whilst the detail of a comprehensive nuclear settlement remains to be agreed, and some of the Islamic Republic’s neighbours remain uneasy about any deal.

Terms of reference

The Foreign Affairs Committee is launching an inquiry into the UK Government’s policy towards Iran, and invites submissions of evidence and possible recommendations. The Committee would welcome submissions which assess in particular:

  • The current state of UK-Iranian bilateral relations, the extent to which UK interests could benefit from improved relations, and whether the UK Government is moving at the right speed in seeking to normalise the diplomatic relationship
  • Iran’s intentions in relation to its nuclear programme, whether the UK Government is making the correct assessment of those intentions, and the extent to which the Iranian government has the willingness and capacity to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal acceptable to the UK and its negotiating partners in the EU3+3 
  • The likely parameters of any such deal, the extent to which UK policy on negotiating with Iran aligns with that of other members of the EU3+3, and the prospect for a wider deal to normalise political and economic relations between Iran and the West
  • US policy towards Iran
  • Iran’s foreign policy, how the UK should engage with it, and the consequences for other countries in the region of Iran and the EU3+3 reaching, or failing to reach, a nuclear deal 
  • Iran’s human rights record and the extent to which this impacts, or should impact, on the bilateral relationship with the UK.

Call for evidence

Interested groups or individuals are encouraged to submit written evidence to the inquiry. Written evidence should be received by the Committee no later than 13 January 2014.

Please note: As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submissions of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via the Foreign Affairs Committee website.

Form of written evidence:
Submissions must be no longer than 3,000 words. The main body of any submission should use numbered paragraphs. Each submission should contain: 

  • a short summary, perhaps in bullet point form;
  • a brief introduction about the person or organisation submitting evidence, perhaps explaining their area of expertise or experience;
  • any factual information from which the Committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses;
  • and any recommendations for action by the Government or others which the submitter would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its report to the House.
  • Submissions should be in MS Word format (we cannot process PDFs) with no use of colour or logos.
  • Further information on submitting evidence

Inquiry-related questions

Please contact Peter McGrath, Second Clerk on 0207 219 6645 or [email protected]  

Media enquiries

Members of the press with enquiries should contact Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589 or 07917 488488, or by email to [email protected]

Image: iStockphoto

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