Iran Nuclear NewsAustralia plans bill on Iran, North Korea sanctions

Australia plans bill on Iran, North Korea sanctions

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Bloomberg: Australia plans legislation allowing it to impose its own sanctions on countries and respond quickly to international issues of concern such as Iran and North Korea, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.

By Marion Rae

May 26 (Bloomberg) — Australia plans legislation allowing it to impose its own sanctions on countries and respond quickly to international issues of concern such as Iran and North Korea, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.

The bill will “strengthen Australia’s autonomous sanctions regime,” enabling the country to “apply targeted pressure on oppressive and destabilizing regimes,” Smith said today in an e-mailed statement.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on May 20 condemned North Korea for the “hostile and unprovoked sinking” of South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26, after an international panel of investigators, which included Australian military personnel, found evidence that North Korea was responsible.

The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea after the country carried out a second nuclear test in 2009. The Security Council is also considering a fourth round of sanctions on Iran for defying UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment as part of its nuclear program.

“Australia remains deeply concerned by Iran’s failure to comply with its international obligations,” Smith said in his statement. Australia “would support new measures against Iran, including additional United Nations Security Council sanctions and autonomous sanctions.”

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday there should be stronger European Union and UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Speaking in parliament in London, he said sanctions should cover curbs on trade finance, asset freezes and action against banks.

Parliamentary Debate

The new legislation, introduced to parliament today and to be debated at a date yet to be set, will allow Australia to “participate fully in concerted international action against “individuals, entities and regimes of concern,” Smith said.

Australia currently maintains sanctions against individuals and countries that include, Myanmar, Fiji, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe, Smith said.

Japan is considering additional sanctions against North Korea, including increased surveillance of financial transfers, and will cooperate with the U.S. and South Korea at the Security Council, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported today, citing unidentified government officials.

North Korea said late yesterday it will sever ties with South Korea and expel South Korean workers from a joint industrial zone as “punishment” for accusing it of sinking a warship and killing 46 South Korean sailors. The communist country yesterday warned of military action in the disputed maritime area off the peninsula’s west coast.

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