Australia has joined a growing list of nations around the world that have imposed additional economic sanctions against Iran. For the first time, the continent nation will restrict its business dealings with the oil and gas industries in the Islamic Republic.
The reason, according to a statement issued Thursday by Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, was a link between revenue generated by those industries and funding for Iran's nuclear proliferation activities. The connection was noted in the United Nations Security Council resolution passed in June that imposed a new round of tighter international sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
A shipping document seen by a Reuters reporter this week indicated that only three cargoes of gasoline reached the Islamic Republic in the month of July. According to a Dubai-based trader who spoke with the reporter on condition on anonymity, the volume was a significant drop from the usual 11 to 13 cargoes per month imported during the summer, and appears to be the result of the international sanctions, which are causing ships carrying fuel to Iran to be diverted.
The Australian move followed similar actions by the European Union and Canada earlier in the week. The United States was the first nation to add its own sanctions against Iran to those imposed by the United Nations last month, penalizing companies that sell gasoline to Iran or that conduct business with the Revolutionary Guard Corporation.
Among Australia's other newly upgraded sanctions are travel and financial bans against more than 110 businesses and individuals in Iran's financial and transportation sectors.
In addition, Australia has imposed a ban on business dealings involving nuclear or missile technology, uranium mining and trade in all arms and related material, including anything that might be used for nuclear, missile, chemical and biological weapons development.
“In adopting this package, Australia stands at the forefront of international community efforts to have Iran meet its international obligations in relation to its nuclear program, one of the most serious security challenges facing the international community,” Smith said.
Despite several years of U.N.-imposed sanctions, Iran has refused to end its uranium enrichment program, which Israel, the U.S. and other nations believe is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed repeatedly in public speeches to annihilate Israel.