Following the meeting of Northern Friends Peace Board last weekend, the text below was sent by email today to the Foreign Secretary
Dear Jeremy Hunt,
We are deeply concerned at the current escalation of tensions regarding Iran, particularly since the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. We understand that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office believes that Iran was behind the attacks. We clearly have no means of making a judgement about that, but we do want to urge you in your role as Foreign Secretary to take every possible step to de-escalate tensions. A further war in the Gulf would be devastating for the whole region. We do not believe that the people of any country have a desire to go to war, and welcome the statement that “the UK remains in close coordination with international partners to find diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions”.
It is particularly unfortunate that the United States’ withdrawal last year from JCPOA has had such a negative impact on relations between the West and Iran. We would urge the UK government to recognise the value of strengthening its commitment to the existing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to give serious consideration to the widespread desire for nuclear disarmament expressed in the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
It is in all our interests that differences are resolved through careful negotiation and diplomacy, and not through increasing military presence in the region and incautious political pronouncements. We hope that the United Kingdom government can take a positive and constructive lead at this worrying time.
Coordinator, Northern Friends Peace Board