On 10 January 2013, the Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, announced the Australian government’s intention to implement further autonomous sanctions against Iran. The announcement came three days after Australia was appointed chair of the UN Security Council sanctions committees.
According to Australia’s Foreign Minister, the sanctions are ‘broadly aligned with those introduced by the European Union and other countries.’ This trend is most evident in the tightening of sanctions by the EU in December 2012 (see our earlier post) and by the US in July 2012. The sanctions will add to the current autonomous sanctions regime in Australia, which operates in parallel to its UN sanctions regime.
While the precise details of the proposed sanctions have not yet been released, the Australian Government has stated that the sanctions include financial and travel restrictions on additional individuals and entities active in the oil, gas and financial sectors or entities/individuals related to Iran’s WMD proliferation activities. They include new measures prohibiting:
- financial transactions between Australian and Iranian banks, including the Central Bank of Iran, unless authorised in advance;
- export of additional materials and the provision of services relevant to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic programs, and to industries controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps;
- import of natural gas from Iran and the provision of related services, and broadening restrictions on export of key equipment for the Iranian oil, gas and petrochemical industries; and
- use of Australian vessels for transport or storage of Iranian petrochemical products;
- construction of new oil tankers for Iran and supply of key naval equipment and technology for ship building and maintenance; and
- flagging and classification services for Iranian tankers and cargo vessels.
Before the new sanctions are formally implemented, the Australian Government will seek public comment on an exposure draft of the proposed amendments to the Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 (Cth), which has not yet been released.