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Dr. Howells: Discussions continue between Iran and the UK, France and Germany (the E3"), supported by the EU high representative, under the framework agreed in Paris in November 2004. The E3 have agreed to present further ideas, including on long-term arrangements for Iran's nuclear programme, at the end of July or the beginning of August. Officials are currently working on these ideas. Long-term arrangements must provide objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the robustness of the electoral system in Iran following the recent presidential elections; and what discussions he has had with (a) the opposition in Iran and (b) the Iranian opposition in the UK on the implications of the election. 
In his statement of 25 June, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expressed concern that there were serious deficiencies in the election process by international standards. A copy of the statement is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website: www.fco.gov.uk/policy/news/press~releases. He noted that an unelected bodythe Guardians Councilexcluded most candidates who registered, and many other potential candidates were deterred by the election procedures from even putting their names forward. For the Iranian people to have a fully free choice about their country's future, they should be able to vote for candidates who
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hold the full range of political views, not just candidates selected for them. In addition, several candidates, senior figures in the Government and election officials complained of widespread interference and electoral malpractice by the security forces and other elements linked to the regime.
Dr. Howells: Through a bilateral policy of critical engagement, the UK, France and Germany (the E3') negotiation and the EU's dialogue with Iran, the Government seek to encourage Iran to address policies of concern, particularly regarding its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes; its approach to terrorism and opposition to the Middle East Peace Process; and its respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Our engagement is conditional. Progress in these areas will open up new opportunities for Iran. But we and the EU have made clear that relations with Iran can move forward only if Iran takes action to address our political concerns.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) timetable and (b) scope is of the Court of Auditors' investigation into a possible breach of the embargo to the former Iraqi regime; which companies are being investigated; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what ministerial visits to Lithuania (a) have taken place in the past 12 months and (b) are planned for the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
There have been five ministerial visits to Lithuania over the last year. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, (Mr. Sutcliffe) lobbied on the Working Time Directive in June 2004, the former hon. Member for Hove (Ivor Caplin), the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at Ministry of Defence visited in January, my right hon. and noble Friend the former Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean) attended a NATO ministerial meeting in April (there was nobilateral programme) and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Mr.Bradshaw) was in Lithuania recently (1314 June) as part of a pre-Presidency tour. I visited Lithuania on 27 June, and held talks with the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
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My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary had planned to visit all the Baltic States in 2004, but parliamentary business intervened and the visit was postponed. It is not our practice to announce visits until they are firm. Because of the unpredictable nature of world events, final decisions on overseas visits are often not possible until very shortly before the day of travel.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 28 June 2005, Official Report, column 1480W, on the Middle East, whether any of the UK's EU partners have raised the possibility of enforcing the human rights conditions of the EU-Israel Association Agreement with the UK. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The EU has regularly raised issues of concern, including human rights, at EU/Israel Association Councils. We, with other member states, will consider in due course what issues to raise in advance of the EU/Israel Association Council scheduled to be held at the end of this year.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 28 June 2005, Official Report, column 1480W, on the Middle East, when the EU-Israel Association Committee is next due to meet. 
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 28 June 2005, Official Report, column 1480W, on the Middle East, if he will give an outline of Ariel Sharon's response to the UK's concerns on (a) the impact on human rights of barrier construction, (b) restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement of Palestinian people and (c) settlement expansion; and what assessment he has made of the response. 
Dr. Howells: Prime Minister Sharon's stated position is that the barrier and restrictions on freedom of movement are defensive measures necessary to protect Israel against terrorism. On settlements, Prime Minister Sharon has stated that no new settlements are being built and has said that following the completion of disengagement, the Israeli Government will dismantle outposts built since March 2001.
The UK Government's consistent view is that, while Israel has the right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks such as suicide bombings, which we condemn absolutely, Israel must act within international law. Settlement construction and the building of the barrier on occupied land are contrary to international law.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what system is
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inplace to check the end-use control of items of military assistance that have been gifted to Nepal as non-lethal. 
Dr. Howells: All of the military equipment the UK has gifted to Nepal since 2001 as part of our conflict prevention strategy has been non-lethal and cannot easily be adapted for offensive purposes. The main items of hardware have been two transport helicopters and two unarmed Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) surveillance aircraft. We have also provided land rovers, bomb disposal equipment and basic individual equipment.
Both the helicopters and the STOL aircraft were provided on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the Government of Nepal, under which the Nepalese have committed themselves not to use or adapt the aircraft for attack purposes. The Defence Attache" at the British Embassy in Kathmandu and his staff make regular random visits to inspect the helicopters, only one of which survives owing to accident, and the STOL aircraft to ensure that they have not been fitted with offensive capabilities. In the case of the STOL aircraft such fixtures would involve considerable structural alteration. We have seen no evidence to suggest that these aircraft have been armed or used improperly. Periodically we remind the Nepalese of their obligations as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding governing the use of this equipment.
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