Submission to the Inquiry into the Human Rights Implications of Recent Violence in Iran
Nov 23, 2022 | AIJAC staff
Submitted November 2022
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) appreciates the opportunity to make a submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee in response to its inquiry into the human rights implications of recent violence in Iran.
AIJAC believes that Australia has long been out of step with key allies and partners when it comes to holding the Iranian regime and associated entities and individuals accountable – not only for the horrifying and pervasive human rights abuses against Iranians domestically, but also for its global sponsorship and orchestration of terrorism; its proliferation of drones and missiles to regional terrorist groups; its nuclear program; its hostage-taking and piracy; its assassination of dissidents and journalists across the world; its regional destabilisation and aggression; and its participation in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine via the provision of drones and missiles and advisers on the ground.
Furthermore, the Iranian regime has successfully exported its murderous, repressive, misogynistic, religious supremacist system to Yemen; is directly responsible for extensive war crimes in Syria; is largely responsible for the ruinous condition of Lebanon through its proxy Hezbollah; and has helped prop up Venezuela’s oppressive regime, as well as the junta in Myanmar.
This disconnect on Iran policy between Australia and our allies has only become more blatant and problematic in recent weeks, as Australia’s allies have introduced a suite of measures to punish Teheran for its bloody repression of Iranian protesters who want an end to the brutalities that have been a hallmark of the regime since it came to power in 1979, and for its active military assistance to Russia’s bloody and illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Several countries have already imposed multiple tranches of sanctions and other punitive measures against the regime since protests began in September, including the US, Canada, the UK and the European Union. The UK and the European Union have further joined the US in sanctioning entities and individuals involved in transferring Iranian drones to Russia in violation of UN resolution 2231, which codified the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The European Union is also considering listing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation, as the US has already done. New Zealand, for its part, has terminated bilateral human rights dialogue with the regime and has openly called for the removal of Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Australia has done none of these things. We have confined our response to purely verbal expressions of concern about the situation in Iran and support for the rights of the protesters.
The Australian Government should, at the very least, immediately enact measures similar to those hitherto imposed by its allies and partners. The identifying information for all potential entities and individuals to be subjected to sanctions is laid out in detail by the respective governments and would require no separate investigation by Australia. This, however, should only be the first step.
To enable Australia to better uphold international law and its own professed values, protect human rights and present a united front with its allies and partners against such a dangerous regime, AIJAC recommends that the Australian Government consider the following proposals:
- Immediately impose or expand sweeping autonomous sanctions, including those covered by the new Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Magnitsky-style and Other Thematic Sanctions) Act 2021, on Iranian regime officials, its judiciary, the IRGC and its associated organs and any other entity or individual associated with, inter alia, domestic human rights abuses; war crimes; terrorism; maritime piracy; kidnapping; illegal nuclear activity; cyberattacks; the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in January 2020; missile and drone proliferation and involvement in the invasion of Ukraine.
- List the IRGC as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code Act 1995.
- Impose sanctions against IRGC proxies and allies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.
- Support the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and other Australian allies and partners in the endeavour to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women. It is obviously farcical for an inherently and violently misogynistic regime to remain a member. While Australia released a joint statement alongside New Zealand and Canada questioning Iran’s membership, no Australian official has directly called for Iran’s removal.
- Explore possible means of helping the United States ensure internet connectivity and other means of communication for Iranian protesters.
- Investigate Iranian regime propaganda activities in Australia, particularly the Australian branch of its Al-Tajamu propaganda network, with a view to limiting the Iranian regime’s ability to financially promote violence and extremism in this country.
- Impose a visa ban on individuals affiliated with the regime’s security forces, IRGC, and institutions of repression, including the Iranian judiciary, and ensure no such individuals are allowed to study in Australian universities.
- Conduct a cost-benefit review, in consultation with DFAT and Australian intelligence and security agencies, of maintaining an Australian embassy in Iran, with a view towards considering downgrading diplomatic relations and expelling Iranian diplomats based in Australia if appropriate.
The Australian Government has every practical, moral and strategic imperative to help strengthen the efforts of its allies and partners in punishing, deterring and isolating the Iranian regime and helping the Iranians, Syrians, Ukrainians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Saudis, Israelis, Afghans, Yemenis and others that continue to suffer due to its dangerous and illegal conduct.