The Foreign Affairs Committee has agreed to the
IRAN: INTERIM REPORT
1. The Committee announced on 20 June 2000 that it
would be inquiring into the role and policy of the FCO in relation
to Iran. Written evidence was invited by the end of September.
We decided to undertake this inquiry because of the strategic
importance of Iran and because of encouraging evidence of a change
in attitude in Tehran towards this country and the emergence of
more pragmatic policies generally.
2. We saw it as essential to visit Iran as part of
our work. Originally we had planned to do so in late October 2000,
but this date was not convenient for our Iranian counterparts.
We therefore embarked on other work in the Autumn, in particular
an inquiry into developments in Yugoslaviaan issue which
became topical with the full of Milosevic in October 2000.
3. We had hoped to return to our Iran inquiry immediately
after the Yugoslavia inquiry. However, as it becomes more and
more likely that the next General Election will be held on or
before May 3 (an election on 3 May will require the dissolution
of Parliament not later than April 5), we have reluctantly concluded
that it will not be possible for us to do justice to the important
subject of British/Iranian relations during the weeks of this
Parliament which probably remain.
4. We have therefore decided to publish this short
explanatory report, together with the written evidence which we
have received. We are most grateful to those who contributed this
written evidence. We hope that this evidence will be of interest
and value to all who study or are otherwise involved with Iran.
5. If the election does not take place until the
Autumn, we will ourselves undertake a proper Iran inquiry. If
the dates of the election are as we expect, it will be for the
Foreign Affairs Committee in the next Parliament to choose its
own agenda. But we can express the hope that our successors will
consider very seriously the desirability of conducting a full-scale
inquiry into the important subject of British/Iranian relations.