Canberra accuses Tehran of spying on dissidents in Australia

Sydney, Australia, Feb 14 (EFE).- The Australian government on Tuesday accused Iran of spying on activists and dissidents opposed to the Tehran regime who live in the Oceanian country.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the country’s intelligence agency late last year “disrupted the activities of individuals who had conducted surveillance of the home of an Iranian-Australian, as well as extensive research of this individual and their family” in the context of the protests against Tehran.

These demonstrations, which broke out in Iran following the Sep. 16 death in Tehran of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by the morality police for not wearing her hijab in accordance with the strict Islamic dress code, also took place in many other countries, including Australia.

During a speech at the Australian National University, O’Neil reaffirmed that the government will “not tolerate” any act of foreign interference on its territory and which, according to the minister, is not limited to Iran alone.

“We’re not going to stand back and have Australians or indeed visitors to our country, watched and tracked by foreign governments on our soil. This is Australia, this is our democracy, and if you engage in activities like this, you will be discovered,” the minister stressed.

“To those states who operate in the shadows, I have a simple message – we are watching you. Where our national interest is served by calling out your operations, we will. And to those in Australia making their voice heard, we are acting to protect you,” O’Neil said, promising that her government would act transparently and reveal the countries and acts of interference committed in Australia by foreign states.

Australian authorities have become increasingly concerned as countries such as China, Iran, Rwanda and Cambodia intimidate and monitor their political opponents in the oceanic country, public broadcaster ABC said Tuesday.

In recent years Australia has passed a battery of laws to block alleged foreign interference in the country’s politics and economy, especially from Beijing, which is accused of being behind computer attacks against universities and government entities and suspected to have financed some politicians and journalists. EFE


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