Australia has adopted targeted sanctions aimed at punishing both Iran and Russia for those nations’ record of oppression, arms trading and abuses of human rights.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Saturday announced Australia will impose human rights sanctions on Iran’s Morality Police, the Basij Resistance Force and six Iranian individuals involved in the violent crackdown on protesters who took to the streets following the death of Mahsa ‘Jina’ Amini, who was arrested for not wearing a hijab.

Nationwide protests erupted in Iran after the 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman died on September 16 while in the custody of the state’s Morality Police.

Iran’s foreign ministry has rejected Western criticism of rights abuses during a government crackdown on the protestors as “meddling” in Iran’s internal affairs and in violation of international law.

Australia has also announced it will impose human rights sanctions on seven Russian individuals involved in the attempted assassination of former opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

‘Every strategy at our disposal’

As well, the government has joined international efforts to place financial sanctions on three Iranians and a business related to the design, development and supply of drones to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine.

They include three Iranian generals – Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, Saeed Aghajani and Amir Ali Hajizadeh – and the aerospace company Shahed Aviation Industries.

“Australia stands with the people of Ukraine and with the people of Iran,” Senator Wong said in a joint statement with Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Tim Watts.

“We employ every strategy at our disposal towards upholding human rights – ranging from dialogue and diplomacy to sanctions – consistent with our values and our interests.”

In total, the Magnitsky-style sanctions announced on Saturday will apply to 13 individuals and two entities.

The protests in Iran potentially pose one of the biggest challenges to theocratic rule in the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

-with AAP

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