Anthony Albanese accuses Iran of playing a ‘very destructive role’ in Middle East

Dan Jervis-Bardy
The Nightly
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has told Iran to stop ‘meddling’ in the Middle East conflict.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has told Iran to stop ‘meddling’ in the Middle East conflict. Credit: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has told Iran to stop “meddling” in the Middle East conflict, accusing it of playing a “very destructive role” in the region.

Mr Albanese issued the demand after it was revealed Foreign Minister Penny Wong personally urged her Iranian counterpart to help prevent the conflict spilling over into a region-wide war in the weeks after Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

Senator Wong will next week travel to Israel and the West Bank as part of ongoing attempts to broker a lasting peace deal in the region.

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She is not planning to visit Iran.

This week, The Australian Financial Review reported Senator Wong rang Iran’s foreign minister in late October in a bid to avoid the conflict expanding across the region.

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have since waded into the conflict, targeting commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea in attempt to force Israel to stop its assault on Gaza.

British and US forced this week repelled the Yemen rebels’ largest assault yet, shooting down missiles and drones aimed at cargo ships in the trade route.

The United Nations Security Council has now passed a resolution demanding an immediate stop to attacks which it said “impede global commerce and navigational rights and freedoms as well as regional peace”.

Speaking to reporters in Melbourne on Thursday, Mr Albanese said Iran “should stop meddling”.

“Iran is playing a very destructive role in the region,” he said.

“Australia will continue to, through Penny Wong, make our position very clear.

“We want to make sure that there is not a widening of the conflict. There have been too many innocent civilians in Israel and in Gaza affected by this conflict.”

The West contacted the Iran’s embassy in Canberra for a response to Mr Albanese’s demand.

The embassy referred this masthead to a recent interview in which Iran’s ambassador to Australia, Ahmad Sadeghi, said it had been “trying to keep peace everywhere in the region”.

The Federal Government late last year rejected a US request to send a warship to help protect the Red Sea shipping lines, but did agree to deploy extra sailors to the region.

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