Sir Iain Duncan Smith welcomes calls to de-escalate the situation with Iran and highlights the role of General Qasem Soleimani and his deputy in attacks and escalating conflict across the middle east.
The issue at stake here is that Soleimani and his deputy were already responsible for vast attacks on our allies and on British citizens, leading to loss of life and to the recent oilfield explosions in Saudi Arabia. The point that we want to make here is not just that he may have posed a threat, but that he has already been a threat. As a result of his position, Iran’s policy has been to escalate all conflict across the middle east, so my right hon. Friend is right to want to de-escalate the situation, but part of that is about ensuring that Soleimani and co no longer exist and can no longer escalate such terrible actions.
My right hon. Friend is correct to highlight that this is not just about the incident of 2 January. The long and consistent destabilising of the region by the Quds Force has done Iran no favours at all. In fact, it has had the opposite effect. Rather than making Iran powerful and influential, it has made Iran a pariah in its own neighbourhood and has led the Iranians down a cul-de-sac to the potentially dangerous place we are now in. We all need, therefore, to do everything we can to de-escalate, including ensuring that Iran ceases the destabilising activity that prevents the building of trust by its neighbours. The neighbourhood may well help to find a solution, but it has to trust Iran.