11 March 2016

Julie Bishop deluded if she thinks this is progress with Iran

From The Australian, 11 March 2016, by Greg Sheridan:

On present behaviour, and on all possible interpretations of its many clear public statements, the Iranian government has absolutely no intention of becoming a responsible international player.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is deluded if she thinks otherwise and is in danger of squandering a good deal of her integrity as a political leader through her political embrace of Iran.

Since the Iran-US nuclear deal, there is no sign at all that the hardline, revolutionary regime in Tehran has changed its behaviour or approach, fundamentally or superficially.

As Bishop is singing the praises of Iran’s allegedly new disposition, we find that it has just conducted a series of ballistic missile launches in breach of UN Security Council resolutions.

An Australian ship has recently intercepted an illegal arms shipment bound for Yemen, probably to the Houthi faction, supplied by Iran.

Tehran remains the chief sponsor of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.

Under Australian law, and under much international law, Hezbollah is a designated terrorist organisation.

The hate-filled, anti-American, anti-Israel and frequently anti-Semitic rhetoric of the Iranian leadership continues unabashed.

Since the allegedly moderate President Hasan Rowhani came into office in Iran, more than 100 members of the minority Baha’i faith have been imprisoned under continuing policies of religious persecution.

“Death to America” remains the standard slogan for government-sponsored demonstrations. If this is our Foreign Minister’s definition of a normal and responsible nation, I would hate to see what she classes as abnormal.

Bishop has been a very successful and effective foreign minister and has rightly won much praise for her role on the international stage.

But her cosying up to one of the worst dictatorships in the contemporary world is at odds with her core political values and inconsistent with many things she has said in the past.

She seems to have fallen for the Barack Obama theory of failed diplomacy — that by being charming to the mullahs, Western leaders can convert them into moderates.