The Australian coalition is calling on the Albanian government to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization after reports it targeted the Australian organization in a malicious ransomware attack. .
This is because the UK is considering listing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization after it emerged that the group was plotting to kidnap and kill British people, it said. The Telegraph reported.
Since 2012, Australia has imposed sanctions on the IRGC under the United Nations and Australian Autonomous Sanctions (UNSC). These sanctions include numerous individuals and entities associated with the IRGC.
The IRGC is an Iranian government agency tasked with defending the Iranian regime against perceived internal and external threats.
Additionally, the Joint Cybersecurity Advisory Report (pdf) was published by the Australian Signals Directory (ASD) in September 2022, confirming that IRGC-related actors have exploited vulnerabilities across multiple US critical infrastructure sectors and organizations in Australia, Canada, and the UK. discovered.
These actors can then use this access for further malicious activity. This includes deploying tools to support ransom and extortion operations and data exfiltration.
According to ASD, the group began scanning and exploiting server vulnerabilities in early 2021.
“The authoring agency assesses that attackers are exploiting known vulnerabilities on unprotected networks rather than targeting specific targeted entities or sectors,” the report states. increase.
“After gaining access to the network, an IRGC-affiliated attacker may decide on a course of action based on the perceived value of the data. Data can be encrypted, data can be stolen, etc. Attackers can sell data or use stolen data in extortion or “double extortion” ransom operations, which can lead to attacks “Persons combine encryption with data theft to pressure targeted entities into paying ransom demands,” the report states.
Union message to the Albanian government
James Patterson, the shadow minister for cybersecurity, reported that the former coalition had targeted cyberattacks under its Magnitsky-style Autonomous Sanctions Amendment Act. Australian person.
“This serious revelation requires a strong message from the Albanian government, and those tools are already available,” Patterson said.
Obed Lobel, policy analyst for the Australian Israeli Council on Jewish Affairs, said: editorial According to an article published by The Australian, if the UK designates the IRGC as a terrorist organization, Germany and the rest of Europe and Canada will follow suit.
“There is no need or justification for Australia to be weird,” he wrote.
“Listing the IRGC under the Criminal Code sends an important symbolic message to dissident Iranians and allies, showing that Australia will not lag behind in denouncing and sanctioning the IRGC as it has in the past. I have.”
Coalition call joins Australia’s green push for stronger action against Iran
The call from the coalition comes at a time when the federal government is also being pushed by Australia’s Green Party over the federal government’s response to Iran’s crackdown on freedom protesters.
Senator Jordon Steele-John, the Green Party’s spokesperson for foreign affairs, peace and nuclear disarmament in Australia, accuses the Albanian government of saying the Green Party has taken no concrete action against Iran’s crackdown. bottom.
“Every day we wake up to the news that more Iranian freedom protesters have been sentenced to death. We must continue to press for the release of innocent civilians who were screaming,” Steele John said.
Australia’s Greens want the federal government to do more than the current sanctions imposed on some Iranian officials.
“The current sanctions are not going far enough and are not as strong as those imposed by other countries, including Canada,” the party said in a media release. “The community is desperately asking for more to be done to show the Iranian authorities that these abhorrent acts will not be tolerated.”
Australia is now using the new Magnitsky Act to implement sanctions against 13 Iranian individuals and two entities. These include members of Iran’s Morality Police and the Basij Resistance Army, and essentially involved in cracking down on protests after the alleged death of her 22-year-old Martha ‘Jina’ Amini, who was arrested on suspicion of wearing a hijab. including her six Iranians. wrong.
Survey of Recent Violence in Iran
in November 2021 Submission The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it condemned Iran’s “evil behavior”.
“The government has also mobilized internationally with partners to hold Iran accountable for its violent crackdown on those exercising their democratic rights to protest against the government’s repression of women and girls,” DFAT filed. said in the documents.
On September 16, 2022, Mahsa (Jina) Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died after being injured in police custody after being detained by Iran’s morality police for wearing clothes that did not conform to government standards.
“Tehran police claim Amini’s death was due to heart disease. Other reports said Amini was beaten in custody and died from her injuries,” DFAT said.
After Amini’s death, protests began in her hometown of Saqez and spread across the country’s 31 provinces, as many Iranians sought to express their anger at the brutality of the security forces and the Iranian government’s policy of repressing women and girls. spread over most of
“Peaceful protests include street demonstrations, women and girls removing their hijabs and cutting their hair, honking car horns in the streets, sit-in strikes at schools and colleges, and the use of political graffiti. It has taken many forms.
“In response to the unrest, Iranian authorities brutally cracked down on protesters, employing violent measures, including the use of deadly weapons, beatings and mass arrests, and deporting dissenting students to psychiatric facilities.
“The Iranian government is sabotaging mobile phone services and restricting internet and social media across the country in an attempt to prevent news of the event from spreading domestically and internationally,” DFAT said.
The Defense Department said Australia had already implemented UNSC-ordered sanctions to limit Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.
In addition, financial and travel sanctions apply to many individuals associated with the IRGC, and financial sanctions apply to entities.
“Operationally, the Iran sanctions framework includes a range of measures, including restrictions on the supply of certain goods and services, requirements to freeze the assets of designated persons and entities, and travel bans on designated persons. increase.”
On January 7, the Iranian government executed two men in connection with the protests. Four protesters have been executed since the nationwide demonstrations.
We have reached out to Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong for comment.
Victoria Kelly-Clark contributed to this report.