Iran nuclear deal ‘not perfect’, admits Foreign Office minister
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Iran nuclear deal ‘not perfect’, admits Foreign Office minister

Vicky Ford added enewed JCPOA deal represents 'pathway for constraining Iran's nuclear programme' as Robert Jenrick warned MPs Tehran has enough enriched uranium for 'at least two nuclear weapons'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Members of Iranian forces carrying the coffin of slain top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during his funeral ceremony in Iran's capital Tehran. With a funeral worthy of the Islamic Republic's greatest "martyrs", Tehran paid a final tribute on Monday to a scientist killed in an assassination blamed on Israel, and promised to continue his work. Fakhrizadeh died on November 27 in a hospital from his wounds after assailants targeted his card and engaged in a gunfight with his bodyguards outside Tehran, according to Iran's defence ministry. Tehran, Iran on November 30, 2020. Photo by SalamPix/ABACAPRESS.COM
Members of Iranian forces carrying the coffin of slain top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during his funeral ceremony in Iran's capital Tehran. With a funeral worthy of the Islamic Republic's greatest "martyrs", Tehran paid a final tribute on Monday to a scientist killed in an assassination blamed on Israel, and promised to continue his work. Fakhrizadeh died on November 27 in a hospital from his wounds after assailants targeted his card and engaged in a gunfight with his bodyguards outside Tehran, according to Iran's defence ministry. Tehran, Iran on November 30, 2020. Photo by SalamPix/ABACAPRESS.COM

A restored Irainian nuclear deal “is not perfect”, but it does represent “a pathway for constraining Tehran’s nuclear programme” Foreign Office minister Vicky Ford has told parliament.

She said a renewed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “would provide a foundation for international diplomatic efforts to ensure that Iran’s nuclear programme remained peaceful in the long-term.”

The comments came after the former Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick called on the government to add the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps  to its list of designated terrorist groups alongside Hamas and Hezbollah.

Seizing on reports America had considering delisting the group from its list of foreign terrorist organisations as a concession to push the JCPOA deal through Jenrick said such an act would “make a mockery of the efforts that we have made in recent years to proscribe Hamas and Hezbollah if we would be signing up to a deal the legitimises the very organisation that funds Hamas and Hezbollah”.

Jenrick told MPs that Iran has enough enriched uranium for “at least two nuclear weapons” and “have progressed far beyond the parameters of the JCPOA.”

He argued that restoring the old Iranian deal “doesn’t have any of the benefits we once thought it would” and added the JCPOA’s “time has been and gone, the Rubicon has been crossed.”

The Newark MP had proposed a backbench motion in the Commons on Thursday with Steve McCabe, Labour Friends of Israel’s parliamentary chair, which expressed “grave concern at the imminent prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Passed unanimously it called on the government to tighten the terms of the JCPOA by trying to extend the sunset clauses and enacting a stricter monitoring regime.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015,  ending many of the sanctions against Iran in exchange for them delaying of its nuclear program and giving up most of its enriched uranium.

Ford advised Tehran to “urgently” accept the offer on the table suggesting “there will not be a better one.”

She said UK and its allies will “carefully consider all options” if no deal is struck soon and the JCPOA collapses.

Ford added:“In March 2022, we left Vienna after reaching the end of talks – at that point there was a viable deal on the table, which would return Iran to compliance with its commitments and would return the US to the deal, reversing Iran’s nuclear escalation and lifting US sanctions related to the JCPOA.

“Iran has not accepted that deal and time is running out. Iran should urgently take the offer on the table. There will not be a better one.”

McCabe said the outcome of the talks in Vienna will be “crucial in shaping the future of the international community’s relations with Iran.”

He added:”As the LFI argues in its recent pamphlet on the subject, the UK needs to develop realistic strategies to address the nuclear threat and the other Iranian issues.

“Iran’s ballistic missile programme is the biggest in the middle east and makes it the first country to develop a missile with a 2,000 km range without having first developed nuclear capability.”

At one point he clashed with Jeremy Corbyn, who had spoken of the need for negotiations with Iran, and also Israel.

McCabe asked the Islington North MP if he would “seriously believe that a country with a secret nuclear programme that is hidden from the IAEA inspectors and a country that is obstructing those inspectors is serious about negotiations? Is that his genuine belief?”

Corbyn said:”Iran has to be serious about negotiations and we have to be serious about negotiations. That is the whole point of this debate and the whole point of the joint agreement.”

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