The ABC provides a platform for a truly bizarre opinion piece by Iranian-Australian academic Omid Tofighian, who employs leftist-jargon in blaming Australia for unrest in Iran:
Australia’s sanctions — dating back over a decade — have contributed to producing new sectors of marginalised peoples within Iran, or reinforcing already marginalised communities and groups.
An important factor for interpreting the current protests is the how a combination of international sanctions and government oppression are increasing the number of disempowered citizens and, as we are witnessing, grinding them down to the point of exhaustion and desperation.
The nuclear deal with Iran promised to relax international sanctions and Iran has started to enter the global economy (UNSC Resolution 2231), although the US embargo on trade and other significant sanctions remain in place. Australia has continued to apply its autonomous sanctions in addition to those stipulated by the UN.
The impact of the sanctions has been indiscriminately affecting a population of over 80 million, and Australia’s additional sanctions have intensified the pressure on average Iranians.
Australia’s targeted sanctions have not in any way “intensified the pressure on average Iranians”. The following is from the Department of Foreign Affairs Iran Sanction Regime webpage:
Australia’s autonomous sanctions law also prohibits the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to Iran, for use in Iran, or for the benefit of Iran, of the following ‘export sanctioned goods’ for Iran:
- arms or related matériel;
- graphite of a kind specified in the Autonomous Sanctions (Export and Import Sanctioned Goods – Iran) Amendment Specification 2016;
- raw metals of a kind specified in the Autonomous Sanctions (Export and Import Sanctioned Goods – Iran) Amendment Specification 2016;
- semi-finished metals of a kind specified in the Autonomous Sanctions (Export and Import Sanctioned Goods – Iran) Amendment Specification 2016;
- software for integrating industrial processes of a kind specified in the Autonomous Sanctions (Export and Import Sanctioned Goods – Iran) Amendment Specification 2016
without a sanctions permit.
More leftist obfuscation from the learned Omid Tofighian:
Protests now on the streets of Iran are partly reacting to the broken promises made by the Rouhani Government regarding the reconstruction and improvement of the economy once sanctions started to be lifted.
When stripped of the power to support oneself and one’s family financially within Iran’s social environment, exploitation and intimidation are inevitable — whether from representatives of the state or other influential and malignant individuals (often connected somehow to the state). And it is this factor that provides insight into the complexities of persecution in Iran that makes it difficult to analyse reasons for fleeing and claims for protection.
These socio-politico-economic dynamics do not fit neatly with official categories and definitions.
The politically constructed category of “economic refugee” is damaging and misleading. In most cases, economic hardship and social marginalisation in Iran are consistent with political persecution.
Tofighian now goes full-on bizarro:
With the centrist Mr Rouhani in power, Iran and the US under former president Barack Obama began repairing hostilities. However, human rights was not made a priority and visa restrictions were introduced against Iranian nationals planning to visit the US, many of whom have family members who are US citizens (this was then reinforced by President Donald Trump). The ban on using the US visa waiver program also affected Iranian-Australians planning to travel to the States.
After 2009 an increased number of Iranians sought protection in Australia.
Weakened socio-economic status often leaves one vulnerable to a culture of political and social intimidation, and with a decreasing middle class marginalisation is becoming the norm in Iran.
This situation is particularly precarious for those minoritised based on religion, ethno-religious or racial identity, refugee status, and women.
This is the segue to Australia’s unfair enforcement of borders:
Farhad Bandesh is an ethnic Kurd from Iran stuck on Manus Island. He analyses the situation of marginalised communities in a way that highlights the combined roles of political suppression and economic discrimination:
“The problem in Iran is that the political system has damaged the nation’s economy and injured the people. The sanctions have played a crucial role in weakening this regime, and this also restricts the distribution of wealth.
“When we have a situation where these factors are impacting on a nation it is obvious that the people’s everyday lives will inevitably become harder and harder. They will have no choice but to protest and ultimately revolt against an oppressive Government…
“Minorities experience distinctive forms of oppression, do you remember the events around the Kermanshah (Kurdistan Province) earthquake? Do you remember how the Government did not help one bit? Also consider the Kurdish kulbars (couriers) who risk their lives to earn an honest living, they are targets for the Iranian police and the sepah (Revolutionary Guard).”
These are not Australia’s doing.
I’ve associated with more Iranians than most in my time and, as with Rhodesians, I’ve met none that weren’t likeable, but that doesn’t mean I want us to throw out the welcome mat.