The Australian government Tuesday announced it intervened in an alleged Iranian operation targeting an unidentified Iranian-Australia. In a speech delivered at the Australian National University’s National Security College, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil disclosed that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) intercepted the Iranian operation in late 2022.ASIO disrupted the activities of individuals who had conducted surveillance of the home of an Iranian-Australian, as well as extensive research of this individual and their family,” O’Neil stated. The individual was involved in protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran. Amini allegedly breached the hijab laws imposed by the Iranian regime. O’Neil said the Australian government would not tolerate “attempts by foreign regimes to disrupt peaceful protests, or try to push violence or suppress specific views being expressed.”O’Neil addressed the increase in foreign interference within Australia’s borders as “one of the biggest domestic security challenges we face.” O’Neil described foreign interference as “activities carried out or directed by a foreign state that are coercive, corrupting, deceptive or clandestine,” to “influence politics and decision-making in other countries.”Since Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody, more than 400 people had been killed in protests, including 50 children. The Australian government has condemned the killings, and has vowed to bring foreign interference “out of the shadows, and into the light.” O’Neil announced that ASIO and the Home Affairs Department would conduct a national outreach program targeting potential victims of foreign interference to assist them in identifying and responding to potential threats. She has also urged Australians to be aware of attempted intervention by foreign bodies or agents.
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