Foreign secretary to investigate UK-Iran drone project after JC revelations

James Cleverly said that the Foreign Office was looking into reports that UK universities were aiding Iran's drone project


The foreign secretary has pledged to investigate after the JC revealed that scientists at British universities have helped Iran develop technology that can be used in its drone programme.

Speaking in parliament during Foreign Secretary's questions, James Cleverly confirmed that the government was looking into reports of staff at 11 British universities producing at least 16 studies with potential Iranian military applications.

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, asked the foreign secretary what steps the government was taking to ensure that Iran could not become a country with nuclear weapons.

He said: "The foreign secretary will be aware that the regime is boasting that their hypersonic missiles can hit Tel Aviv in 400 seconds.

"The JCPOA restrictions end in October, and there are suggestions that British universities have been involved in research, leading to drones that are attacking Ukrainian training positions from Russia."

Responding, Cleverly confirmed that the government was "looking into" the universities connection and added: "We continue to stand firm on our commitment that Iran cannot become a nuclear weapons state and we will ensure that as sunset clauses within the JCPOA arrive, that we take evolved measures to ensure that is the case."

Last week, Senior MPs and peers expressed deep concern over the JC report, with a government spokesperson saying Britain would “not accept collaborations which compromise our national security”.

Lord Polak, President of Conservative Friends of Israel, said: “It’s clear that the IRGC controls Iran’s drone programmes, and that these weapons are being used by the Russians in Putin’s war on Ukraine.

"That it has a presence in British universities is yet more evidence — not that any should be needed — that we should have banned the IRGC a long time ago.”

In one project, researchers in Britain worked to improve drone engines, boosting their altitude, speed and range. It was funded by Tehran.

Another British university worked with Iranian counterparts to test sophisticated new control systems for jet engines, aimed at increasing their “manoeuvrability and response time” in “military applications”.

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