Australia is imposing new sanctions against Iran in a fresh effort to pressure it into abandoning its nuclear program.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr says the new autonomous sanctions will restrict dealings with Iran’s oil, gas, petroleum and financial sectors.
They will also restrict trade in gold, precious metals, diamonds and new Iranian currency.
“These sanctions aim to increase pressure on Iran to comply with nuclear non-proliferation obligations and with United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Senator Carr said in a statement on Wednesday.
“By introducing these sanctions – alongside others such as those of the European Union – we seek to bring Iran back to serious negotiations.”
The sanctions targeting Iran’s financial services sector prohibit any Iranian financial institution setting up in Australia, and vice versa.
The also prohibit any commercial relationship between Australian and Iranian financial institutions.
They come on top of Australia’s existing arms embargo and financial and travel sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities.
But the opposition wants the government to also cancel plans to send two senior officials to a Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran next week.
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop says Iran will use the visit by Prime Ministerial Special Envoy Joanna Hewitt and Australia’s Ambassador to the UN Gary Quinlan to claim greater international legitimacy.
“The government will be sending mixed messages if the visit by our officials takes place one week after imposing these sanctions,” Ms Bishop said.
“It is illogical for the government to impose travel bans on Iranian officials while dispatching senior Australian officials to Tehran.”
Ms Bishop has accused the government of compromising its approach to Iran in pursuit of votes for its campaign for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.
A spokesman for Senator Carr said that was “nonsense”.
“We are going there to attend the Non-Aligned Movement meeting as a guest, which we do on a regular basis,” the spokesman said.
“We are not going there to hold talks with Iran.”
The Non-Aligned Movement brings together 120 member countries that consider themselves independent of the world’s major power blocs.
Australia has been campaigning since 2008 for a two-year term on the Security Council. A vote at UN headquarters in New York in October will decide which country is successful.
On August 8, 2012 Senator Carr met with Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.
Bob Carr orders walk out if Iran exposes Israel
Foreign Minister Bob Carr has instructed Australian officials to walk out of a summit in Iran if the country’s leaders start spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Australia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gary Quinlan and Prime Ministerial Special Envoy Joanna Hewitt are set to attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran next week.
The opposition has called on the government to cancel the visit, arguing Iran will use it to claim greater international legitimacy.
But Senator Carr says that’s nonsense, pointing out Australia has officials permanently based in an embassy in Tehran.
“The opposition in this parliament hasn’t suggested we revoke diplomatic relations,” he told reporters on Thursday.
But Senator Carr says he does believe it is “regrettable” that the summit is taking place in Iran.
“If there is any of that anti-Semitic rhetoric, that inflammatory anti-Israeli rhetoric, from the president of Iran, our ambassador at the UN is under instruction from me directly to be the first on his feet to walk out,” he said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often uses international meetings to launch anti-Israel tirades.
Senator Carr this week announced new sanctions against Iran as part of a fresh push to pressure it into abandoning its nuclear program.
The sanctions will restrict dealings with Iran’s oil, gas, petroleum and financial sectors. They also will restrict trade in gold, precious metals, diamonds and new Iranian currency.
They prohibit any Iranian financial institution setting up in Australia, and vice versa, and ban all commercial relationships between Australian and Iranian financial institutions.
They come on top of Australia’s existing arms embargo, and financial and travel sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities.
The Non-Aligned Movement brings together 120 member countries that consider themselves independent of the world’s major power blocs. Australia attends as a non-member guest.