THE Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) recently hosted Iran analyst Behnam Ben Taleblu on a speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The senior fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies think tank in Washington DC presented a series of briefings with journalists and politicians in order to correct false narratives surrounding the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA.
He said the “fatally flawed” JCPOA focused only on the nuclear issue and argued a comprehensive deal is needed to address the entire spectrum of Tehran’s destabilising behaviour, which includes terrorism, kidnapping, missile proliferation, and Iran’s human rights record.
Since Iran’s ultimate goal in the region is to turn its “quantitative advantage” in terms of proxy forces into a “qualitative advantage” against Israel with its missile and drone programs, Taleblu said, these issues must also be addressed in any future deal.
Taleblu commended Prime Minister Scott Morrison for having the courage to at least reconsider Australia’s support for the JCPOA and for being the only Western leader aside from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to join the US-led Operation Sentinel in the Persian Gulf.
He said the recent incident of Australian civilians being held hostage in Iran’s notorious Evin prison (two have since been released) fit the pattern of the regime’s behaviour since its foundation in 1979.