Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

European Parliament must stop turning a blind eye to Iran

13th October 2005

UKIP votes down amendments condemning executions for homosexuality

BRUSSELS, 13 October 2005 -- MEPs must take a tougher line against Iran's nuclear weapons programme and not rule out options available to prevent nuclear proliferation based on dogma, Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said today. He joined Conservative defence spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden MEP in condemning Iran's support for Hezbollah and insurgents in Iraq who carry the responsibility for the deaths of British soldiers.

The MEPs were speaking after the Parliament voted to water down a resolution which left open the possibility of sanctions and supported any eventual decision to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.

In an interesting twist during the voting session, UKIP MEPs opposed an amendment condemning Iranian execution of minors and women for offences of sexual acts and homosexuality. The amendment was intended to clarify the acts as being against international legal norms and wholly repugnant to the citizens of the EU. Dr Tannock questioned how UKIP MEPs could justify such behaviour in the modern world.

Dr Tannock said:

"There is evidence that Iran's government, in spite of public denials, is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb. We should keep all options open - including sanctions - unless Iran can give absolute guarantees that its nuclear programme is for entirely peaceful purposes.

"UKIP's behaviour in opposing the condemnation of Iran for executing citizens on the basis of sexuality is inexplicable. I am baffled as to how UKIP could possible tolerate such barbarity in the modern world.

"Iran, through its terrorist proxy Hezbollah, which I have called for the EU to ban, is supporting insurgents in Iraq and preventing the reconstruction on that blighted country. We must stop turning a blind eye to Iran and be prepared to act to take what action is necessary to safeguard our security."

Mr Van Orden, who has recently returned from visiting British forces in Basra, added:

"Iran is arming insurgents in southern Iraq and carries responsibility for the deaths of British soldiers. If Iran seriously wishes to show that she has peaceful intentions in the region, then there must be an end to her sponsorship of terrorists posing as liberators".

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