Australia sanctions Iranian entities for ‘destabilising behaviour’ in Middle East

Seized container vessel MSC Aries also has 16 Indian crew members on board.

Canberra: Australia on Tuesday imposed targeted sanctions on an additional five Iranian individuals and three entities, in response to “destabilising behaviour” in the Middle East.

Targeted entities include Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy, which seized an Israeli-linked, Portuguese-flagged, civilian vessel in international waters on April 13.

“Australia continues to call for the immediate release of the ship and its crew,” stated Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

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The seized container vessel MSC Aries also has 16 Indian crew members on board.

Among the senior officials sanctioned by Australia on Tuesday are Iran’s Defence Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and the Commander of the IRGC Qods Force, Brigadier General Esmail Qaani.

“The IRGC is a malignant actor that has long been a threat to international security, and to its own people,” mentioned Wong in a statement released by the Australian government.

Those sanctioned also include Iranian senior officials, business people and companies that have contributed to the development of Iran’s missile and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programmes.

“Iran’s proliferation and provision of these technologies to its proxies has fostered instability across the region for many years,” Wong added.

The Australian government led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has now sanctioned 90 Iranian-linked individuals and 100 Iranian-linked entities.

“This action is in line with sanctions measures taken by our partners in recent weeks, following Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel in April. Australia will continue to deliberately and strategically apply pressure on Iran to cease its disruptive activities and adhere to international law,” said Wong.

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