FRESH on the heels of Australia’s appointment to chair the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee, the federal government last week announced further sanctions against Iran.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said last Thursday, the sanctions, would be aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program, affect the rogue state’s financial, trade, energy and transport sectors.
The new measures bring Australia broadly into line with the European Union and the United States.
“These sanctions further increase pressure on Iran to comply with its nuclear non-proliferation obligations, and with UN Security Council resolutions and to engage in serious negotiations on its nuclear program,” Carr said.
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) executive director Colin Rubenstein said the decision to bolster existing sanctions was “necessary and welcome”.
“There is growing evidence that sanctions will continue to have a serious impact in Iran, but the regime has nevertheless not yet put the needs of its citizens ahead of its quest for developing weapons of mass destruction,” Rubenstein said.
“The strongest possible sanctions appear to be the best hope of having to avoid the Hobson’s choice of a nuclear-armed Iran or military action to defend the region and the world from this prospect.”
Australia has imposed UN Security Council sanctions against Iran since 2006, and an autonomous Australian sanctions regime has been in place since 2008. According to a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) paper released at the time of last week’s announcement, the sanctions aim to pressure the Iranian regime and deny it a key source of funding for proliferation-sensitive nuclear and missile programs.
DFAT claims sanctions are having a direct impact, resulting in reduced oil production, a declining exchange rate, reduced industrial activity and falling international investment from Iran.
The government will seek public comment on an exposure draft of proposed amendments to the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 before the new sanctions are formally implemented.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr.