The federal government has not committed to expelling Iranian officials involved in the harassment of expatriates based in Australia, despite the ongoing security threat.
Terrified Iranian-Australians have “taken great personal risk” to share their experiences of threats and intimidation on home soil for criticizing the authoritarian Islamist regime in Tehran.
The government has accepted two recommendations from a Senate inquiry into the human rights implications of violence in Iran: ensuring an appropriate level of expertise and resources to assess threats to Australians and deterring hostage diplomacy situations.
Liberal senator Claire Chandler said she was constantly asked by the Iranian diaspora why the government seemed to be dragging its feet. (Pictured: Protesters in Sydney on January 8)
“Australia resolutely opposes the practice of arbitrary detention, arrest and conviction wherever it may occur, including in Iran,” a government statement said.
“Travel advice for Iran advises Australians not to travel to Iran and highlights the increased risk of arbitrary detention or arrest. »
Seven of the Senate inquiry’s recommendations were taken into account, while two were rejected.
Inquiry chair and Deputy Foreign Minister Claire Chandler said: “Incredibly, among the recommendations not accepted by the Albanian government is that all Iranian officials in Australia considered to be involved in intimidation , threats or surveillance of Australians to be deported.
“This comes despite the government recognizing that Australians are under threat and harassment on Australian soil.”
Iranian-Australians also express disappointment with the government’s response. The feeling among some activists is that they need to focus on the upcoming protests denouncing violence in Iran, before returning to the government’s announcement next week.
Daily Mail Australia previously spoke to Tina Kordrostrami, who shared her harrowing experience of being followed through the streets of Sydney and threatened by a man she said worked for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Others, fearing backlash, shared their experiences anonymously. Senator Chandler and his inquiry also spoke to hundreds of terrified Iranian-Australians.
Tina Kordrostami was stalked, attacked and followed through the streets by a heavily tattooed man who she claimed was an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran regime.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Wednesday imposed sanctions against four individuals and three entities with undeniable links to the oppression of women and girls in Iran.
The sanctions extend to Press TV, a state-backed channel that “broadcast the forced confessions of detained Iranians and dual nationals.”
Iran’s cyber police also face sanctions due to “restriction of internet activity in Iran.”
Among the four people sanctioned is Saeed Montazer Al-Mahdi, spokesperson for Iranian law enforcement.
Mr. Al-Mahdi recently announced the return of hijab-wearing morality police patrols in Iran.
Minister Wong said he had “repeatedly made intimidating and threatening statements against Iranian women and girls for allegedly violating Iran’s compulsory veiling laws.”
In announcing the sanctions in the Senate, Ms Wong revealed she had met with Iranian-Australians who shared their own experiences of terror with the IRGC.
“Their stories are difficult for anyone with compassion to hear,” she said.
Demonstrators removed their hijabs and cut their hair in the street in honor of Ms. Amini. (Protesters are seen in Rome showing support for the Iranian community)
Labor has categorically ruled out declaring the IRGC a terrorist organisation, despite this being recommended in the Senate report and called for by the local Iranian community.
The government says the IRGC is “not the kind of entity covered by the terrorist organization provision of the Criminal Code” because it is a “nation-state organ.”
As a result, the government determined that it was not possible to declare it a terrorist organization and instead “focused on taking meaningful steps to put pressure” on the group.
Senator Chandler expressed his disappointment with the government’s handling of the crisis.
She said: “While we welcome the additional sanctions announced by the Government today, they do not go far enough, with the Foreign Secretary acknowledging that “women and girls in Iran still face systemic persecution” .
“Many Iranian-Australians have taken great personal risk to speak out, protest and urge the government to take stronger action. Iranian-Australian community groups wrote to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister several times throughout the year.
Ms Chandler, in a joint statement with Senator Simon Birmingham, said the outcome would be “devastating to many members of the Iranian-Australian community who have worked so hard to try to get this Albanian Labor government to take more action strong and to hold the regime accountable. ‘.
“This response comes not only during the week of the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, but at a time when the IRI regime is increasing its influence in the region, exporting terror around the world and obtaining levers and financial advantages thanks to his terrible tactics.
Ms Wong said the Government wholeheartedly supports the “overarching principle” of Ms Chandler’s inquiry findings, that it is imperative to hold the Iranian regime to account for its human rights abuses.
Ms Kordrostami and Senator Chandler say Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been briefed on the issue and their concerns are still being ignored. (Pictured: Activists protest against Iran’s “morality police” in Istanbul, Turkey, October 7, 2022)
But the government has not accepted findings that Australia was “lagging behind” other countries in its response to these abuses.
She said: “The Australian Government has been consistent, proactive and assertive in holding the Iranian regime to account for its gross human rights violations.
“The Australian Government has taken steps to limit Australia’s engagement with Iran where it is in our interests to do so.”
She referred to advice she gave to state and territory governments, as well as major Australian bodies and universities, in April 2023, urging them to “suspend any existing cooperation with Iranian entities and avoid ‘engage in new initiatives’.
“The Albanian government has taken stronger action against Iran on human rights than any previous Australian government,” she said.
Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, died last year while in the custody of Iran’s “morality police,” charged with enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
In addition to the recommendation to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization, the government did not accept the recommendation that “all reports of threats, intimidation, control or surveillance by the Iranian community in Australia be followed up, recorded (and) evaluated.”
The government said: “ASIO and AFP staff operate within their own legislative powers and mechanisms to report results to government. All reports of foreign interference and espionage are currently being reviewed, triaged and evaluated for investigation.
“Threats to public safety, threats to family members, forced repatriations and other serious threats of harm are considered a high priority response.”
The government took note of demands to oppose the election of the Islamic Republic of Iran to any United Nations body, as well as calls to “increase transparency and better inform the public” regarding the Status of Australia’s diplomatic relations with Iran.