The debate is happening on the recommendation of a 4 November 2015 report by the European Scrutiny Committee (ESC).

The context for the debate is that on 14 July 2015, the E3+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States), supported by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR; Federica Mogherini), reached an agreement with Iran — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

On 20 July 2015, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to adopt Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231 (2015), endorsing the JCPOA.

Three European documents incorporating this Resolution into EU law and implementing sanctions relief by terminating the implementation of nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions were subsequently adopted in October. They are:

Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1862 of 18 October 2015 implementing Regulation (EU) No.267/2012 concerning restrictive measures against Iran

Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1861 of 18 October 2015 amending Regulation (EU) No.267/2012 concerning restrictive measures against Iran

Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1863 of 18 October 2015 amending Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran.

It is worth noting that the sanctions relief will take effect only when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that Iran has completed the agreed steps on its nuclear programme under the JCPOA.

The ESC has been calling since September for relevant draft European documents arising from the July 2015 agreement to be debated on the floor of the House.

Following the passing of the above Council Decision and Regulations in October –  and while allowing that it was acceptable for the Government to agree to the adoption of these measures ahead of parliamentary scrutiny taking place – the ESC has again reiterated its call for a debate on the floor of the House. Pending that debate taking place, it has declined to clear these documents from scrutiny.

Further details about the ESC’s position on the scrutiny of these documents is available in the 4 November report (see link above).

In terms of the July 2015 agreement itself, also see two recent Library briefings on Iran:

In brief: Iran

Published 26 October 2015 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7351

Iran is more in the news than ever, with its involvement in the Syrian conflict. This briefing paper is a summary of Iran’s domestic politics, regional involvement and the nuclear deal.

The Lausanne Accord with Iran

Published 16 October 2015 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7178

The nuclear negotiations with Iran took a big step forward with the announcement of a framework for a full agreement, to be signed by the end of June 2015. Will they make it across the finishing line?

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