Australia approves new Iran sanctions


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Australia approved new sanctions against Iran in a bid to halt its nuclear program.

The new sanctions, announced Thursday by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, follow similar restrictions issued by the United States, the European Union and Canada.

For the first time the sanctions include restricting business dealings with Iran’s oil and gas sector.

"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 in a statement.

Labor legislator Michael Danby, who is Jewish, said that "History teaches us that going soft on hard-line dictators is a recipe for catastrophe. The Labor government under Prime Minister Julia Gillard will not shirk its historic responsibility to stand with Israel at its hour of maximum danger."

The new sanctions also include travel and financial bans against more than 100 businesses and individuals in Iran’s financial and transport sectors, as well as a trade ban on all arms materials.

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