Australia will take out its own sanctions against Iran as it seeks to help curb the regime’s nuclear program.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has announced Australia will impose sanctions on a bank, a shipping line, and an individual involved in a construction company.
The move comes on top of a fresh round of UN sanctions imposed last week.
“These new measures put Australia at the forefront of efforts to persuade Iran to reverse its current path of confrontation with the international community,” Mr Smith said in a statement.
Iran says its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful civilian purposes, while countries such as the US argue it is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
Australia’s sanctions will apply to Bank Mellat, which the UN says has facilitated transactions involving Iranian nuclear and missile entities.
They will also apply to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line, which Mr Smith said had transported goods for Iran’s nuclear programs.
General Rostam Qasemi, the commander of Khatem ol-Anbiya Construction Organisation, also will face Australian sanctions.
While noting deep concern about Iran’s nuclear aspirations, Mr Smith said there was still an opportunity for dialogue.
“Australia urges Iran to uphold its international obligations and seek an early negotiated solution to international community concerns about its nuclear program,” he said.
‘Most difficult issue’
Earlier, Mr Smith said Iran may well be the single most difficult issue the international community had to grapple with during the next year or so.
The United Nations last week decided to impose new sanctions on Iran, expanding an arms embargo and adding more names to the list of people who face personal sanctions.
Australia already has autonomous sanctions in place against Iran, adding the new ones on Tuesday.
The European Union recently proposed its own sanctions, to cover the oil and gas industries, plus more curbs on transport, banking and insurance.