The Australian senate has called on the government to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization and impose further sanctions on the regime’s officials. 

In a 128-page report on the current protests across Iran condemning institutionalized oppression of women and the Islamic Republic’s brutal response to quell the uprising, the senate decried the use of live ammunition and indiscriminate force by security agents against civilians. 

The Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade References Committee, which issued the report, urged the Australian Government to be unequivocal in its response to violence and human rights abuses in Iran, adding that “whilst Iran’s future must ultimately be written by the people of Iran in its own streets, the protection of human rights is a moral obligation and a practical necessity for us all.”

The committee, reporting on behalf of the senate, said that “evidence presented to the committee painfully illustrates the wholesale maltreatment of a nation by the very authorities whose job it is supposed to be to safeguard and protect the Iranian population.” 

“Hundreds have been killed and many thousands wounded. Tens of thousands have been arrested. A number have been sentenced to death—some already executed—without access to a fair trial. Confessions are extracted through torture. Adults and children are subjected to horrific physical and sexual abuse in prison,” read part of the report, titled “Human rights implications of recent violence in Iran.”

Having studied a very large sample of submitted reports and evidence, the report made a series of recommendations designed to hold accountable a regime for abusing its own people, and reduce the Islamic Republic’s ability to violate human rights without consequence. 

The committee recommended that the Australian Government take the necessary steps to formally categorize the IRGC as an organization involved in supporting and facilitating terrorism, also calling for the use of sanctions to target Islamic Republic and IRGC-affiliated individuals and entities responsible for malicious cyber activity against Australia.

It also urged the government “to use the available Magnitsky legislation to expand the list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions in response to human rights abuses in Iran, with particular focus on senior officials responsible for violence, human rights abuses, arbitrary detention and executions without due process.”

Protests in Iran

The document also called on Canberra to oppose the election of the Islamic Republic to United Nations’ bodies in light of the regime’s clear disregard for human rights, it said, particularly the rights of women and girls. 

The senate also expressed concerns about credible allegations of intimidation and threats against Australian citizens, residents and their families, urging the responsible government ministers to provide an update to the Parliament and the Australian public on the government’s current assessment of whether persons connected to the regime are undertaking such behavior in Australia.

The committee also recommended that Australia should minimize relations with the Islamic Republic to “the greatest extent possible in recognition of the appalling behavior of the regime,” adding that the government should increase transparency and better inform the public about the status of its diplomatic relations with Tehran, as well as the security concerns in relation to the regime’s behavior relating to cybercrime, hostage diplomacy and threats to Australian residents.

“Implementing the committee’s recommendations would place Australia more firmly in the community of nations which have heard the Iranian people cry: Enough,” read the report, acknowledging that “Australia lagged well behind many of our partner Western democracies in taking action to send a clear unambivalent message to the Iranian regime that what they are doing is grossly unacceptable.”

The West has stepped up pressure on Iran over its crackdown on protests and arms supply for the Russian invasion of Ukraine as the USEuropean Union and United Kingdom imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran.

Earlier in the day, US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said that “all corners of the Biden Administration have worked urgently and powerfully to mobilize the international community and confront the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses.”

On Tuesday, US lawmaker Representative Claudia Tenney (Rep-NY) reiterated, “We must impose the strictest sanctions possible on the leaders of the murderous Iranian regime, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

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