Home Secretary: We Will Not Tolerate Iranian Spy Operations in Australian Territory

Australia announced on Tuesday that it had ended an Iranian spy operation that was taking place on its territory during demonstrations in solidarity with the protest movement that erupted after the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini, in September. Claire O’Neill said an Iranian-Australian activist who was participating in the demonstrations was targeted by Iranian spy operations. “It’s perfectly legal for anyone in Australia criticizing a foreign regime, as have tens of thousands of people in the whole country in response to events in Iran,” he added in a speech at the Australian National University.

And he stressed that “what we absolutely do not tolerate, in under any circumstances, they are attempts by foreign regimes to obstruct peaceful demonstrations, encourage violence or silence opinions”. The young Iranian Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, died a few days after being arrested by the morality police for having violated the strict dress code in the Islamic Republic.Since then, Iran has seen a protest movement.

O’Neill said Tehran was caught spying on family of Iranian-Australian protester, without entering in further details. “We will not stand by and leave Australians, or even visitors to our country, surveilled or pursued by foreign governments on our soil,” she added.

These statements are especially important given that the Australian government often refrains from accusing countries of espionage. The Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, accused the United States and Israel of inciting protests in October.

Iranian authorities have confirmed that hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed in the protests, which have decreased in intensity in recent weeks. Thousands of Iranians have been arrested, including well-known artists, lawyers and journalists.