The Hon Michael Danby MP
Federal Member for Melbourne Ports
Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby said on Wednesday that he remains concerned about the details emerging from the P5+1–Iran nuclear deal.
“With Iran’s history of hiding nuclear developments from international inspectors and this agreement’s enforcement mechanisms, which require up to 24 days’ notice for the IAEA to inspect military sites, a real doubt must exist about verifying and enforcing this agreement” said Mr Danby.
“The success of the agreement depends on the implementation of the verification regime, which, in the past, the IAEA has repeatedly said, has been restricted by Iran.”
The international community is betting that economic improvements in Iran, with the removal of sanctions, will lead to a change in the aggressive aspirations of Iran’s leadership. This can be the only explanation for the removal of all arms restrictions on Iran within five years and the amazing agreement to remove restrictions on Iran’s ability to acquire ballistic missiles in eight years.
“Will this be a North Korea-type agreement, which, like North Korea, Iran will soon break? Obviously, the Obama Administration and the other international players in this agreement (China, Russia, France, German and the UK) believe that this will be more akin to an old style Soviet arms control agreement that sticks.”
Mr Danby pointed out that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is correct when he points out that this agreement only pertains to nuclear capabilities (even supposing Teheran keeps to the agreement).
“Iran’s support for regional aggression and support for Hezbollah (listed by many countries as an international terrorist organisation) are not affected”, Mr Danby said, “were the implications of Khamenei’s characterisations of the nuclear deal.”
“Iran has, through the funding and arming of proxies, undermined governments in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority and has aided the Syrian regime in its slaughter of civilians. Additionally, Iran’s pursuit of its regional ambitions has seen countries important to the West, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, come to view Iran as a threat. This nuclear agreement (with the removal of sanctions) will free up hundreds of billions of dollars, which Iran can use to further its regional agenda. The President of the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China believe this nuclear deal will extend to a deal a period in which Iran could acquire a nuclear weapon. They balance that as more important than Iran’s regional activities or support for Hezbollah.”
Mr Danby said in gambling terms: “We are betting the house on a change in the Iranian leadership over the next decade. In my view, it’s a case of hope over experience. We all want to avoid military conflict, and the doubters like me of this deal will be more than happy if we are proved wrong.”
Moreover, the international nuclear arrangement with Iran in no way justifies the Australian Government changing travel advisories, opening intelligence sharing arrangements with Iran or agreeing to the opening of Iranian consulates in Melbourne or Sydney, as the Foreign Minister has floated.
Mr Danby has urged the Australian Government and the international community to only drop sanctions against Iran after Iran has demonstrated changed behaviour.