Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong speaks during a news conference during her meeting with Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah in Putrajaya, Malaysia, June 28, 2022.

Australia Sanctions Iranian Officials Over 'Destabilizing Behavior’

Tuesday, 05/14/2024

Australia is sanctioning five Iranian officials and three entities, over Tehran's "destabilizing behavior" and “activities” in the Middle East.

Iran's Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force are among those sanctioned.

The ministry's statement denounced the IRGC as a "malignant actor" threatening both international security and Iranian citizens.

The sanctions also target additional Iranian officials, businesspeople, and companies involved in advancing Iran’s missile and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs.

According to the ministry, these technologies have long contributed to regional instability by empowering Iranian proxies.

The IRGC Navy, which seized a civilian vessel linked to Israel under a Portuguese flag in international waters on April 13, 2024, is among the targeted entities, with Australia reiterating its calls for the immediate release of the ship and its crew.

Overall, Australia says it has sanctioned 90 people and 100 entities linked to Iran, saying it is committed to "deliberately and strategically apply pressure" on Iran to halt its disruptive actions and comply with international law.

The new sanctions align with measures taken by other nations following Iran's drone and missile strikes on Israel last month.

Australia has not designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization, despite imposing wide-reaching sanctions against the IRGC and its affiliates. This stance differs from the United States' decision in 2019 to label the IRGC as a foreign terrorist group.

Other nations, including the UK, Canada, and France, have also refrained from labeling the IRGC as a terrorist organization in its entirety, though they have imposed substantial sanctions.

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