Australia’s Silence on Iran Is a Boon to Russia and China

November 22, 2022 | Oved Lobel
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The EU, the UK, and the U.S. have all recently imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic for supplying Russia with drones to use against Ukraine. But Australia, despite its close diplomatic and security ties with all three, has declined to do so. Similarly, Canberra has condemned Tehran for its murderous attempts to curb dissent, but refrained from following its Western allies in imposing sanctions. Oved Lobel comments:

No coherent explanation has been given for why Australia consistently chooses to isolate itself from its allies when it comes to Iran, both rhetorically and practically. Yet whatever the rationale, it sends a very dangerous signal to China, whose rise and increasing belligerence constitutes a most serious long-term national-security concern.

China is part of a strategic alliance with Iran and Russia, helping keep both regimes afloat despite sanctions and, via proliferation agents, is “the most important overseas supplier of items and material for Iran’s missile program,” according to the U.S. State Department. Those same missiles China helps Iran build are now headed to Russia to help kill Ukrainians.

Australia has a moral and strategic imperative to join its allies in punishing Iran not only for its domestic crackdown, but for its material aid to Russia in killing Ukrainians, as well. This will not only provide practical help for Iranian protesters and Ukrainian civilians, but it will send a powerful message that Australia is willing to stand up for its principles and act in concert with like-minded countries. Conversely, an inability or unwillingness to take a stand on such a straightforward issue sends precisely the opposite message, whetting the appetite of an imperial power far more dangerous and far closer to home.