House Of Lords

Written Answers to Questions – House of Lords: Israel – 19 December 2012

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will support any moves in the United Nations to require that Israel opens any nuclear facilities to United Nations inspection.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative)

The British Government regularly call on countries to place their nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, as the UN agency responsible for nuclear safeguards. IAEA safeguards include measures ranging from inspections, visits, monitoring and evaluation. On 4 December the UK voted in favour of UN General Assembly Resolution 67/73 2012 on “the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”. The resolution called upon Israel to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards as a confidence-building measure and to enhance peace and security.

Written Answers to Questions – House of Lords: Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East – 11 December 2012

Lord Judd (Labour)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are taking to ensure an early date for reconvening the postponed Helsinki conference on a nuclear- and other weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East; and what is their current policy on that objective.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative)
The Government support the objective of a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East. We regret that it will not be possible to convene a conference in 2012 to be attended by all states of the region.

We will continue to work with our fellow conveners (the US, Russia and the UN), with Jaakko Laajava, the facilitator for the conference, and with countries in the region to convene a conference as soon as possible. We welcome the facilitator’s proposal to hold further consultations in early 2013.

Written Statements – House of Lords: Financial Restrictions Order (Iran) – 20 November 2012

Lord Sassoon (Commercial Secretary, HM Treasury; Conservative)
The Government have today laid before Parliament an order under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 containing a direction requiring UK credit and financial institutions to cease all business with banks incorporated in Iran and their branches and subsidiaries, wherever located, including the Central Bank of Iran.

The direction is in the same terms as that given by the Treasury on 21 November 2011, which ceases to have effect after one year. UK credit and financial institutions continue to be prohibited from entering into transactions or business relationships with banks incorporated in Iran and their branches and subsidiaries unless they are licensed to do so by the Treasury.

The Treasury is satisfied, as required by the Act, that activity in Iran that facilitates the development or production of nuclear weapons poses a significant risk to the national interests of the United Kingdom.

Reports by the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the UN body charged with monitoring Iran’s activities and ensuring that no nuclear material is being diverted to non-civilian applications) highlight the reasons for the Government’s serious and ongoing concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities.

The IAEA Report of 30 August 2012 sets out the agency’s concerns about “the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organisations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile”. In particular, the information available to the agency indicates that Iran has carried out activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. The Government view these developments with the utmost concern.

The case for action is underlined by the recent calls from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for countries to apply effective countermeasures to protect their financial sectors from money laundering and financing of terrorism risks emanating from Iran. The FATF (the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism) reaffirmed these calls on 19 October 2012 and stated that it remained “particularly and exceptionally concerned about Iran’s failure to address the risk of terrorist financing and the serious threat this poses to the integrity of the international financial system”.

In light of these risks to the UK’s national interests, I consider it a proportionate response to require the UK financial sector to cease all business relationships and transactions with Iranian banks and their branches and subsidiaries, including the Central Bank of Iran.

Iranian banks play a crucial role in providing financial services to individuals and entities within Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes as companies carrying out proliferation activities will typically require banking services. Any Iranian bank is exposed to the risk of being used by proliferators in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Experience under existing UN and EU financial sanctions against Iran demonstrates that targeting individual Iranian banks is not sufficient. Once one bank is targeted, a new one can step into its place.

As they relate to an important global financial centre, UK restrictions have an impact on the options available to Iranian banks. This will continue to make it difficult for Iranian banks to utilise the international financial system in support of proliferation-sensitive activities. It will protect the UK financial sector from the risk of unwittingly being used to facilitate activities which support Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. UK action of this nature signals to Iran and the international community that we consider this risk to be significant.

Written Answers to Questions – House of Lords: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 – 11 October 2012

Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to help other states to meet their obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative)
The UK strongly supports UN Security Council Resolution 1540 which requires all UN member states to enforce effective measures against the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and their means of delivery. We were active in negotiations to renew the resolution in April 2011, helping to secure a new, 10-year mandate for the 1540 Committee and the appointment of a UK expert to the 1540 Group of Experts in June 2012.

We have funded a range of capacity building and legislative assistance programmes to help countries meet their obligations under 1540. These include increasing the role played by regional organisations, promoting the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention intercessional process, preparation for the Chemical Weapons Convention Review Conference in April 2013 and promoting the universality of both these conventions; and promoting ratification of the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the (amended) Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.

The Global Threat Reduction Programme (GTRP), part of the UK’s contribution to the G8’s Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, has also worked to improve the assistance matching process and support to the 1540 Committee. The UK programme supports substantial international efforts to secure vulnerable chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and expertise to ensure that they do not fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

Written Answers to Questions – House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons – 8 October 2012

Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to support the development and use of proliferation-resistant technologies in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative)
The UK participates in the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Co-operation (IFNEC), which provides a forum to explore ways of ensuring that the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is efficient and meets the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation. Proliferation resistance is one of several factors that will influence policy decisions on nuclear issues, such as a decision on the reuse of plutonium (www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cros/consultations/pluto_reuse/pluto_reuse.aspx).

Written Answers to Questions – House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons – 8 October 2012

Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the progress, effectiveness and achievements of the seven-nation initiative on nuclear non-proliferation, established at the 2005 United Nations World Summit in New York; and what steps they are taking to promote it.

Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative)
The seven-nation initiative was formed in response to the lack of a substantive agreement at the 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. It helped to broaden the understanding between states of their positions on disarmament and non-proliferation ahead of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, at which consensus was reached. Bridging the divide between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states will be a component of UK engagement in the run-up to the 2015 NPT Review Conference. At this stage, and following the consensus in 2010, the Government do not see a need to revive the seven-nation initiative

Written Answers to Questions – House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons – 8 October 2012

Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made as to the effectiveness of the proliferation security initiative as a counter-proliferation instrument; and what steps they have taken to promote it.

Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative)
The proliferation security initiative (PSI) has helped to sensitise the international community to the problems of trafficking weapons of mass destruction (WMD), WMD delivery systems and related materials. Addressing these problems requires the widest possible co-operation between states. PSI provides an effective framework for building consensus and developing best practice on taking practical action. We adhere to and promote the PSI principles which are aimed at improving international efforts to halt these illicit goods in transit. We co-operate with international partners on operational activities and engage with industry on export control measures.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons – 8 October 2012

Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to facilitate negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty.

Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative)
The UK continues to push for the immediate start of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty in the Conference on Disarmament (CD). We believe the CD represents the best option we have for negotiations, with all the relevant states as members. At the conference in Washington of the five recognised nuclear-weapon states in June, attendees discussed how to achieve a legally binding, verifiable international ban on the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. We continue to engage actively with these and other relevant states on ways to break the current impasse in the CD in advance of the United Nations General Assembly First Committee in October.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons – 8 October 2012

Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the progress towards entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and what steps they have taken to encourage its earliest possible commencement.

“Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative)
Entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) moved a step closer in February this year with the very welcome ratification of the treaty by the Republic of Indonesia. The Government are continuing to take all appropriate opportunities to promote signature and ratification of the CTBT, including by the remaining eight Annex 2 countries. The Government are working with Annex 2 countries including the United States to promote their ratification efforts, recognising that United States ratification is likely to provide an impetus for other Annex 2 countries to follow suit.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend, Mr Burt will be attending the sixth ministerial meeting on early entry into force of the CTBT in New York city on 27 September, where he will reiterate the Government’s commitment to early entry into force of the CTBT and will highlight the work that the UK has been conducting to support the implementation of the verification regime, including the technical support provided by experts from the Ministry of Defence, the Atomic Weapons Establishment and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the CTBT Organisation.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Nuclear Fuel Banks – 17 September 2012

Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on the creation of international nuclear fuel banks; and what steps they have taken to support efforts to establish such banks. [HL2196 ]

Baroness Verma (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)
The UK, through its membership of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has strongly supported all recent steps to provide assurances of supply (of nuclear fuel) that help build confidence for those states considering nuclear power. These measures include the so-called “IAEA LEU bank”, approved in principle by the board in December 2010, with the financial backing of several partners including the EU, and the UK’s own proposal for a Nuclear Fuel Assurance.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons – 23 July 2012

Lord Lamont of Lerwick (Conservative)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Sir John Sawers in his remarks on Iran in his recent speech to Civil Service Live meant that Iran was now two years away from completing the construction of a nuclear weapon, or two years away from acquiring all the technological and material capability to construct such a weapon.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
It is the policy of successive UK Governments not to comment on matters of intelligence and national security. This policy has not changed.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Israel – 13 July 2012

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government , further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 25 June (WA 32), whether they will propose to the United Nations that it take measures to persuade Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
The UK believes a strong safeguards regime is important to ensure that nuclear programmes are purely for peaceful purposes. The UK has urged Israel to sign up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. However in the absence of this we have called on Israel to voluntarily adopt a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. United Nations Security Council Resolution 487 called on Israel to adopt a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. We have also supported resolutions in the General Assembly that have made similar calls.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Iran – 09 July 2012

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Iran is in compliance with the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obliges non-nuclear weapon states parties to conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and in 2005, the IAEA Board of Governors detailed “Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement”. Furthermore, the latest report by the director-general of the IAEA to its Board of Governors states that: “contrary to its safeguards agreement and relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and Security Council, Iran is not implementing the provisions of the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement”. The same report also sets out a number of concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. As a non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT, Iran has undertaken not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons. These issues are therefore extremely concerning.

In addition, the IAEA Board of Governors has repeatedly concluded that Iran is not complying with United Nations Security Council Resolutions requiring it to suspend all enrichment-related activities and work on all heavy water-related projects.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Iran – 20 June 2012

Lord Janner of Braunstone (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest assessment of Iran’s nuclear programme.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
Along with the rest of the international community, we remain gravely concerned about Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran continues to flout multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions requiring it to suspend uranium enrichment and has installed a capacity at the Fordow enrichment plant to produce near 20% enriched uranium, for which it has no civilian use. At the same time, as the International Atomic Energy Agency has made clear in successive reports, including most recently this month, there is credible evidence that Iran has also conducted activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. Iran has so far failed to address these concerns. We continue to urge Iran to take urgent, practical steps to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Iran – 20 June 2012

Lord Hoyle (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 28 May (WA 113), when the European Union will decide whether to implement the ban on protection and identity insurance on ships carrying Iranian oil.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
The European Union Foreign Affairs Committee will meet on 25 June and will have the opportunity to consider two outstanding reviews in relation to the Iran oil embargo, including on protection and indemnity insurance. We expect the embargo and protection and indemnity insurance ban to take full effect, as already agreed, on 1 July. Until Iran takes serious steps to address serious international concerns about its nuclear programme, we will maintain the pressure.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Arms Control – 20 June 2012

Lord Trefgarne (Conservative)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House the latest draft of the proposed arms control treaty.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
The UK is fully committed to securing a robust and effective, legally binding arms trade treaty at the diplomatic conference in July 2012. A copy of the latest version of the chair’s paper on the arms trade treaty is attached to the Report of the Preparatory Committee. A copy of the report can be found on the United Nations website (www.un.org/disarmament/ATT/) and I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the House.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Nuclear Security – 12 June 2012

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what meetings Ministers from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skillshave had since May 2010 with representatives of (1) Nuclear Risk Insurers Ltd, and (2) other United Kingdom nuclear risk insurers.

Baroness Wilcox (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Business, Innovation and Skills; Conservative)
No such meetings have taken place

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Iran – 11 June 2012

Lord Janner of Braunstone (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the latest round of international sanctions on Iran is working effectively to dissuade the Government of Iran from pursuing a nuclear enrichment programme.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
We believe that the dual track process-pressure in the form of robust sanctions, and engagement in the form of negotiations-offers the best chance of achieving a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue. Recent sanctions have slowed the Iranian nuclear programme and brought pressure to bear on the Iranian regime to negotiate with the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany. Sanctions will only be lifted in response to genuine and significant steps by Iran to address the international community’s concerns. Until we see those steps, we will keep up the pressure on Iran through sanctions.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons – 11 June 2012

Lord Judd (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to promote the case for nuclear weapons-free zones in the world, particularly in the Middle East; and how they view the nuclear potential of Israel in this context.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
We attach great importance to nuclear weapons-free zones. They make a valuable contribution to reducing the number of nuclear weapons worldwide. The UK has signed and ratified protocols in respect of three nuclear weapons-free zones, granting treaty-based negative security assurances to almost 100 countries. There was also recent agreement between the P5 (the five permanent members of the United Security Council) and the Association of South East Asian Nations on the P5 protocol to the south-east Asia nuclear weapons-free zone.

The proposed Middle East weapons of mass destruction-free zone is more complex than existing nuclear weapons-free zones as it would cover nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems. We have offered both practical and political support to assist the Finnish facilitator Jaakko Laajava’s team in its effort to convene a conference on this issue. We have provided funding for Mr Laajava’s outreach visits and arranged events on the Middle East weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-free zone at the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference and the Chemical Weapons Convention Review Conference. Neither the conference nor a WMD-free zone can be imposed on the region. Success in this initiative will require the agreement of every state in the region and we hope they will all engage constructively with the facilitator, including Israel.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons- 11 June 2012

Lord Judd (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made towards fulfilling the undertaking given in the context of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that existing nuclear powers would prioritize the reduction and elimination of their own stocks of nuclear weapons.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
The UK has made particularly strong progress in fulfilling our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) disarmament obligations, for example announcing in 2010 that we would reduce our overall nuclear weapon stockpile to no more than 180 warheads. The reductions in United States of America and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons through the new START treaty (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) represent important progress towards our shared long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The UK looks forward to discussing further concrete measures towards nuclear disarmament with the other NPT-recognised nuclear-weapon states (the five permanent members of the United National Security Council-the P5) at the third P5 conference in Washington in June.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Iran – 28 May 2012

Lord Hoyle (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will implement European Union sanctions on Iranian oil shipping in July.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
The UK is pursuing a dual-track policy of engagement with and pressure on Iran over the nuclear issue. International sanctions have brought Iran back to the negotiating table in recent weeks and the UK remains committed to increasing the pressure on Iran until it negotiates seriously. The European Union embargo on Iranian oil imports is expected to come into full effect on 1 July. The related ban on protection and indemnity insurance for ships carrying Iranian oil is subject to a European Union review and we are in discussions with EU partners about this.

House of Lords: Statement on the G8 and NATO Summits in the House of Lords – 23 May 2012

Lord Strathclyde (Leader of the House of Lords, House of Lords; Conservative) has read out a Statement on the NATO Summit in the House of Lords on 23 May 2012.

Read the statement here.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Nuclear Weapons – 26 March 2012

Baroness Afshar (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their approach to the development of nuclear weapons in (1) Israel, and (2) Iran.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
The UK is committed to tackling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction wherever it occurs in the world.

Israel is not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We are in regular dialogue with the Israeli Government on nuclear issues, and call upon Israel to sign up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state.

While Iran is a state party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, we have grave concerns about Iran’s track record of developing covert nuclear facilities, and the military dimensions to the programme. These concerns are shared by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the vast majority of states around the world. Iran continues to violate numerous United Nations Security Council and IAEA Board of Governor Resolutions. The UK maintains a dual track approach of pressure and engagement, and is working closely with E3+3 partners (UK, France, Germany and, the United States, Russia and China) to bring Iran back into compliance with its international obligations.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Iran – 27 February 2012

Lord Hylton (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they are imposing additional sanctions on Iran in the light of statements in January by the United States Defense Secretary and the Director of National Intelligence that Iran was not developing a nuclear weapon.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
United States Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, said in an interview on 8 January with CBS that Iran is laying the groundwork for making nuclear weapons in the future, but is not yet building a bomb. This is consistent with our position on the Iranian nuclear programme.

We and our E3+3 partners, including the United States, France, Germany, Russia and China, are seriously concerned by the continuing development of the Iranian nuclear programme. Iran claims its programme is peaceful. However, the November report from the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency raises serious questions about military dimensions to the programme. Furthermore, Iran continues to expand its capability to produce near 20 per cent enriched uranium at its previously clandestine facility at Qom. This work is on a scale that has no plausible civilian justification. These steps, taken together, bring Iran closer to possessing a nuclear weapons capability.

We and our partners are committed to a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue, which is why, in line with the E3+3’s dual track policy of pressure and engagement, we are increasing the pressure on Iran to return to the negotiating table.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Iran – 27 February 2012

Lord Judd (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy towards military intervention in Iran; and what representations about military intervention in Iran they have made to the Government of the United States and other principal allies.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
The Government want a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Iran nuclear issue, not a military one. To this end, we are pursuing a dual-track strategy of engagement and pressure. This diplomatic strategy is about avoiding military outcomes to the situation. But all options should be kept on the table.

We regularly discuss Iran with our principal allies, including the United States. The dual-track strategy of pressure and engagement is agreed among the E3+3 nations (China, France, Germany, Russia, UK and the United States).

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Armed Forces: Anti-submarine Warfare – 10 February 2012

Lord West of Spithead (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether it is their intention that the United Kingdom’s anti-submarine warfare, particularly passive anti-submarine warfare, techniques and training, should be based on nuclear attack submarines, Merlin helicopters and towed array frigate force.

Lord Astor of Hever (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Defence; Conservative)
The United Kingdom’s anti-submarine warfare protection doctrine is designed to counter the threat faced in both deep water and littoral scenarios through the provision of a layered approach to detecting and defending against potential and actual threats. This is based on the utilisation of a range of assets, including nuclear attack submarines, Merlin helicopters and a towed array frigate force.

Written Answers to Questions — House of Lords: Iran – 9 February 2012

ord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of whether Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, in the light of the comments by the United States Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, on CBS Face the Nation on 8 January.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
As the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) most recent report on the Iranian nuclear programme makes clear, Iran has conducted activities relevant, and in some cases specific, to the development of nuclear weapons. Much of the evidence that the IAEA presents relates to activities prior to 2003; but the IAEA also presents significant evidence, from multiple sources, indicating that some of these activities have continued beyond this point. Iran also continues to expand its stockpile of near-20 per cent enriched uranium and to expand its capability to produce this material far beyond that required for its declared intended civilian use, all in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions. These activities bring the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon closer, and cause us grave concerns about the ultimate purpose of the Iranian nuclear programme.