Australia Lifts Sanctions on Iran

Iran sanctions

Australia has lifted some of the sanctions imposed on Iran as a response to its nuclear agreement with six world powers. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), many of the sanctions imposed in 2008, in the wake of its nuclear program have been lifted.

Under the new changes, Australian businesses will not have to seek prior approval for transactions above AU$20,000 when they deal with Iranian enterprises.

However, Australia’s anti-money laundering agency AUSTRAC has advised reporting entities to scrutinise all payments routed via third-party countries to Iran and North Korea.

Some Australian sanctions on Iran will continue. They include non-nuclear sanctions on sensitive goods, arms and ballistic missiles and special sanctions against designated persons and entities, reports Reuters.

In January, the United States and some other countries lifted Iranian sanctions on banking, steel and shipping. That gave the oil producer fresh access to international markets, which were shut for it in the past few years.

The US also retained some less comprehensive sanctions on Iran for curbing its missile program. Tehran maintains that its missile program is defensive in nature and it has every right to develop conventional weapons.

Meanwhile, Australian government’s decision to lift sanctions on Iran will face the scrutiny of Parliament. This follows a Labor MP referring the policy change to a powerful Senate committee, the Jewish Times reported.

Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby also enlisted the support of shadow foreign minister Tanya Plibersek for the move. Accordingly, Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee chaired by Labor Senator Alex Gallacher will examine the matter.

A hearing may take place “in the next few months”, according to Danby’s office. He alleged that the decision to lift Iranian sanctions “came without public consultation and without due process.”

“There are many questions about Australia’s ever closer ties to the Iranian regime that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has refused to answer. We can now be confident that Australian interests will not be harmed due to her rash decision,” the law maker said.

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