Iran’s foreign agents have been stalking and harassing Australian citizens, and they’re not trying to hide it.
Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil has made the stunning admission that this kind of foreign interference is now a bigger domestic threat than terrorism.
“This is an urgent priority of the government. Our security agencies are really focused on this problem,” the minister told 60 Minutes.
Iran’s persistent campaign to stop dissent against the regime globally has intensified in the past year.
In September last year, 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini was arrested in Iran by the morality police for wearing an improper hijab. She was accused of wearing it too loosely.
Three days after the arrest, still in police custody, Amini died.
Her death triggered a wave of protests around the world, with advocates believing Amini was beaten up at the hands of authorities. Consequently, this put Iran’s oppressive regime at the centre of the discourse.
For decades, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps terrorised Iranians in the country. But since last year’s protests, they have been operating on foreign soil – including Australia – targeting anyone who spoke out against the regime.
Sydney resident Tina Kordrostami claims she was stalked and intimidated by their foreign operatives.
“I noticed that there was a big white van behind me who was keeping very close to my car and his driving was out of the ordinary,” she told Amelia Adams.
“When I parked up at a service station, the man driving the van walked up to my car and started talking to me in Persian. I told him to leave me alone and he said, ‘it doesn’t matter anyway because I know where you live.'”
Ever since Kordrostami’s family fled Iran to build a life in Australia 25 years ago, she has been fighting for the rights of those still under the regime in her homeland.
When Amini died in police custody last year, Kordrostami was among the thousands in Iran and around the world who spoke out in protest. She continues to be one of the loudest pro-democracy advocates today.
The threats Kordrostami has received are both in person and online.
“Every time I post anything, and it immediately gets shared within Iran, that’s where I start seeing threats such as the Islamic Republic being closer to me than I think,” she said.
The extent of brutality of the IRGC is something Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert knows first hand.
Falsely accused of being a spy while on a research trip, she spent 804 days in prison in Iran, under the IRGC control.
“They have no respect for human rights, they have no respect for the rule of law, for democratic principles,” Moore-Gilbert said.
“They will kill, will rape, will pillage, will violate human rights to the extent that they get what they want.”
Moore-Gilbert was released in 2020, but despite this, she is still constantly targeted by the Iranian regime.
“It’s extraordinarily concerning to think that the IRGC are here on the ground in Australia, or in cyberspace, monitoring what Australian citizens are up to here in our own country.”
The concern is shared by Australian politicians aware of the extent of the regime’s presence on the ground.
Federal Senator Claire Chandler has been overwhelmed by submissions of Iranian interference in the country.
“We wouldn’t accept it from Australians here undertaking that sort of activity against fellow Australians,” she said.
“So why should we accept it when it’s being undertaken by foreign regimes?”
The minister for home affairs says the government is working hard to make communities feel safer.
”What I can say to these communities is our security agencies are really focussed on this problem, all the way up to the things that the foreign minister does at a diplomatic level and make sure we are using all those levers at the same time to put maximum pressure on the regime to stop it and to punish the perpetrators,” O’Neil said.
Source » aawsat