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Greens Push Albanese Government to Get Tough on Iran

The Greens Party has denounced the federal government’s response to Iran’s crackdown on Iranian freedom protestors as slow and falling short of what the community wants.

Australian Greens spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Peace, and Nuclear Disarmament, Senator Jordon Steele-John called out the Albanese government over what the Greens say is a lack of concrete actions on the Iranian crackdown.

“Every day, we wake up to the news that more Iranian freedom protestors have been sentenced to death. This must end. The international community must keep putting pressure on Iranian authorities to free those innocent civilians who are subject to fatal penalties because they were crying out for freedom in their country,” Steele-John said.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Western Australian Greens Senator Jordan Steele-John in the Senate at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia on July 4, 2019. (Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

The Australian Greens want the federal government to do more than the current sanctions that have been put on some Iranian officials.

“The current sanctions do not go far enough and are not as strong as those imposed by other countries, including Canada,” the party said in a media release. “The community is desperately calling for more to be done to show Iranian authorities that these abhorrent acts will not be tolerated.”

Currently, Australia has used its new Magnitsky laws to implement sanctions on 13 individuals and two entities from Iran. These include members of Iran’s Morality Police and the Basij Resistance Force and six Iranian individuals who have been intrinsically involved in the crackdown on protests following the suspicious death of 22-year-old Mahsa ‘Jina’ Amini, who was arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly.

This is in addition to the Iranian sanctions regime instituted by United Nations, which Australia adheres to.

Announcing the sanctions on Dec. 10, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Penny Wong, said that the sanctions were in response to egregious human rights violations and abuses.

“These sanctions target grievous human rights situations where the perpetrators continue to act with impunity,” she said. “The listings demonstrate the Australian Government’s commitment to take clear action to assert our values and to hold perpetrators of serious human rights violations and abuses to account.”

Call to Expand Magnitsky Sanction on the Iranian Regime

Steele-John said that the Greens would like to see the Australian government expand its use of the Magnitsky sanctions to include financial asset freezing and further visa bans on individuals linked to the Iranian regime, including key security officials, Basiji Militia, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, and the morality police.

“The Iranian diaspora community has been calling for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be listed as a terrorist organisation, and the Australian government must start listening,” he said. “This would send a strong signal that Australia will not stay silent in the face of human rights abuses and will act to punish perpetrators who are accountable for these heinous crimes.”

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Iranian demonstrators take to the streets of the capital Tehran during a protest for Mahsa Amini on Sept. 21, 2022, five days after the young woman died in custody while under arrest by the country’s morality police. (AFP via Getty Images)

The Greens have also said they will continue to pressure the federal government to do more on the issue.

“The Australian Greens will continue to call on the Iranian government to end its violent crackdown on protesters and request the release of all arrested protestors,” the party said. “We will continue to pressure the Australian government to do more.”

International Movement Puts Iranian Regime in the Spotlight

Additionally, Steele-John has announced his political sponsorship of one protestor, Majid Kazemi, who was sentenced to death by the Iranian authorities on Jan. 9 and has family living in Australia.

“The Iranian diaspora in Australia is greatly concerned for Majid Kazemi, as the Iranian authorities have continued to carry out executions of people who joined protests following Jina Amini’s death,” the Greens party spokesperson said. “The United Nations Human Rights office has said that the recent executions of Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini followed ‘unfair trials based on forced confessions.’”

Steele-John’s support follows similar moves from politicians in Europe and Canada, who are also sponsoring Iranian prisoners.

According to Voice of America, the intention behind the lawmakers’ sponsorship means they will use “their political heft in communicating with Iranian ambassadors, other politicians, and human rights organizations to bring attention to the plight of individual Iranian prisoners.”

Mohammad-Mehdi Karami
Mohammad-Mehdi Karami
Mohammad-Mehdi Karami speaks in a courtroom in Tehran, Iran, in December 2022. Karami was later executed by the Iranian regime. (West Asia News Agency/Handout via Reuters)

The hope is that the increased attention brought to the cases via political clout will push the Iranian regime to stop sentencing protestors harshly in trials that are often running covertly.

Families members of those arrested in the crackdown have reported that they often have no idea where their family members are being held or what conditions they may have suffered while detained.

Thousands of Iranians have been protesting almost daily despite an increasingly violent crackdown from Iranian authorities.

The regime’s suppression of protesters includes alleged arbitrary arrests and detentions, gender-based and sexual violence, excessive use of force, torture, enforced disappearances, and executions.

Victoria Kelly-Clark

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.

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