Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Questions without Notice
A nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable and would pose a major threat to regional and global security. The latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, dated 30 August, confirms Iran's continuing non-compliance with its obligations. The report highlights the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program. It makes it clear that Iran has failed to take necessary actions, including suspending its enrichment activities at Natanz and Fordow, suspending work on all heavy water related projects and allowing the IAEA to access the Parchin military facility, where Iran is suspected of having conducted experiments in an explosives containment vessel.
Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent at Fordow brings Iran closer to producing weapons grade nuclear material. Iran was the subject of yet another IAEA resolution at last week's meeting of the board of governors. Australia co-sponsored the resolution. It noted the IAEA Director General's conclusion:
Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.
The last round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 was held in Moscow in June, followed by lower level technical talks in Istanbul in July. They did not make any progress because of Iran's failure to engage constructively. No further round has been scheduled. The P5+1 is the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany. We held a lot of faith in those talks and for a time there were encouraging signals. The best way, we continue to argue, to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue— (Time expired)
(—) (): Mr President, on 22 August I announced Australia's implementation of new sanctions against Iran. They prohibit trade and investment in the country's oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, prohibit cooperation with Iranian financial institutions and prohibit trade with Iranian government entities in gold, precious metals and diamonds. This expands on Australia's earlier measures, including travel and financial restrictions against 44 individuals and 229 entities, and in addition to stringent international sanctions that Australia and all the United Nations Security Council members were first obliged to impose in December 2006. Australia's sanctions aim to pressure Iran and deny it a key source of funding for proliferation sensitive nuclear and missile programs. Sanctions are having a direct impact on Iran, resulting in fluctuations in its exchange rate, difficulty in carrying out its financial transactions and withdrawing international investment. (Time expired)
Australia condemns the hateful comments made by the Iranian regime against Israel and the Jewish people. We are gravely concerned by Iran's human rights record. According to Amnesty International, there were at least 360 executions in Iran—
Opposition senators interjecting—
I can't hear you. If you're going to interject you will have to do better than the warbling, indistinct commentary you provide. On 23 October 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief described the treatment of the 300,000 Baha'is as among the most extreme manifestation of religious intolerance and persecution in the world. Both in Australia and in Iran we have called for the protection and promotion of rights to freedom of assembly and expression, respect for gender equality, the repeal of the death penalty and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities to be upheld. Australia has expressed its concerns through statements— (Time expired)