(Reply received Dec 20th - original letter having been sent to MH early October !)
Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London 7 December 2005.
Dear Michael (Howard).
Thank you for your letter of November 15 on behalf of your constituent ..... of........... about human rights in Iran.
We are aware of concern amongst non-governmental organizations that a number of homosexuals have been charged with crimes such as rape and kidnap, and then sentenced to death. We are not aware of any individual who has been executed in Iran this year solely on the grounds of their homosexuality, but we of course continue to monitor the situation carefully.
I share Mr ....'s concerns about Iran's use of the death penalty. I have discussed Iran's approach to this issue and individual cases with Iranian interlocutors on several occasions. On 23 November the british Embassy raised its concern about incidentss of suppression of labour rights and trade unionists with the Iranian government, along with several other violations of freedom of expression and association.
Mr .... raises the possibility of taking action in the UN. EU Member States, including the UK, unanimously co-sponsored a UN General Assembly Third Committee resolution on human rights in Iran in November. The resolution attracted more co-sponsors and was adopted by a larger margin than in recent years.
Our position on military action has been clear. The prime Minister told the House of Commons on 2 November "Nobody is talking about military threats (or the) invasion of Iran... What we are saying, however, is that the Iranian Government have to understand that the international community simply will not put up with their continued breach of the proper and normal standards of behaviour that we expect from a member of the United Nations".
Please reassure Mr .....that the Government will continue to work hard with the EU and the wider international community to improve the human rights situation in Iran.
Yours ever. Jack Straw.