The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1993Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 21 April 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 21st April 1993.



Iran and Iraq (Weapons)

Mr. Rogers : To ask the Prime Minister what was the policy of Her Majesty’s Government towards export of lethal weapons for Iran and Iraq from 1979 to 1985; and if he will list each occasion on which changes in the policy were announced to the House.

The Prime Minister : Restrictions on the export of lethal weapons to Iran were introduced following the seizure of the American hostages in 1979. Restrictions were introduced on Iraq following the outbreak of the Iran/Iraq conflict in 1980. Guidelines applying to all deliveries of defence equipment to Iran and Iraq were introduced in December 1984. They were announced to the House on 29 October 1985 by my noble and learned Friend, Lord Howe of Aberavon, then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. The guidelines were as follows :

(i) we should maintain our consistent refusal to supply any lethal equipment to either side;

(ii) subject to that overriding consideration, we should attempt to fulfil existing contracts and obligations;

(iii) we should not, in future, approve orders for any defence equipment which, in our view, would significantly enhance the capability of either side to prolong or exacerbate the conflict;

(iv) in line with this policy, we should continue to scrutinise rigorously all applications for export licences for the supply of defence equipment to Iran and Iraq.



Mr. Parry : To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to visit Liverpool in the near future.

The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him yesterday at column 178.