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AIJAC welcomes Foreign Minister Payne’s condemnation of Iran and Hezbollah

Aug 12, 2021 | AIJAC

(Credit: Albin Lohr-Jones/ Wikimedia Commons)
(Credit: Albin Lohr-Jones/ Wikimedia Commons)

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) welcomes comments made in Parliament on August 10 by Foreign Minister Senator Marise Payne condemning Iran and Hezbollah.

Responding to a question from Senator Dean Smith about maritime security threats in the Middle East region, Foreign Minister Payne stated, “The Australian government unequivocally condemns the armed drone attack on the civilian tanker MV Mercer Street in waters off Oman which have been attributed to Iran. Iran’s reckless, unlawful, deliberate and targeted attack on a merchant vessel is a clear violation of international law.”

She added, “Iran’s deliberate attacks on shipping, whether by drone or any other means, must cease and those responsible for giving orders and carrying out the attacks must be held to account. That the MV Mercer Street had connections to Israel makes this act more concerning. Iran’s continuing shadow war against the state of Israel breaches every foundational principle of the international community of nations and the key obligations of all member states of the United Nations. It is appropriate for the United Nations to address misconduct and its impact on regional stability and the disruption of peace.”

Asked by Senator Smith about other threats to regional stability in the Middle East, she called on Iran to “return to compliance with the NPT [Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons], to allow complete IAEA verification of its peaceful intentions for nuclear technology and to reverse its steps towards weapons-grade nuclear material.”

Finally, asked about “other concerns in the Middle East” she singled out Hezbollah’s firing of rockets into Israel, noting that “Hezbollah’s use of villages as human shields is against international law”, before stating, “Iran’s well-documented supply of funds and weapons to terror organisations like the Hamas brigades, Islamic Jihad and others fuels instability and violence, and Australia joins international calls for Iran to also cease the abuses of human rights inside Iran, particularly the persecution of religious minorities.”

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “We congratulate Foreign Minister Payne for her principled, forthright and well-founded comments. There is no doubt that the rogue behaviour of Iran is by far the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Middle East today. Iran is proceeding rapidly to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities, while continuing to cause violence throughout the region both by its own actions and those of its numerous proxy terror groups and militia, including Hezbollah.”

AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler also commended both Payne and the government for their stance and added, “We hope the UN and the international community will heed Foreign Minister Payne’s timely call to take action to address these grave concerns and hold Iran to account.”

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