On 9th May 2018, Lord Ahmad repeated a statement given in the House of Commons on the Iran Nuclear Deal. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster responded.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I wonder whether the greatest danger here is that the approach of President Trump is completely counterproductive, in precisely encouraging the more hard-line and reactionary elements in Iran. Given that there has in fact been some good movement in the past year, with President Rouhani being re-elected against the more hard-line candidate and some changes on the legal front in the last six months, the danger is that this is going to provoke a deep anti-American, anti-western reaction that is precisely contrary to our fundamental thrust, which should be to promote the moderate elements in Iran. If so, what can we do—quite apart from the issue around the treaty—to promote the more moderate elements in Iran, which have a real traction when it comes to elections?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate raises an important element within the context of how the American withdrawal from the deal will be perceived in Iran. We have taken a very progressive, constructive and vital step forward, through the showing of strength of E3 unity. The President of France and the Chancellor of Germany, together with our Prime Minister, have issued a joint statement in that regard. As I said earlier, that translates the fact that not all the West shares the opinion of the United States in pulling away from the deal. It is important to communicate that effectively, as my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary did today to Foreign Minister Zarif, and we continue to make that point consistently in all our dealings with Iran. On there being different voices within Iran, we saw President Rouhani step forward and give his commitment. We will continue to support all efforts to keep Iran within the deal and all international efforts to ensure that the deal itself remains alive.