PM decries Iran attack as 'grave threat' to Middle East

Iran's retaliatory attack on Israel is a "grave threat" that could exacerbate devastation across the Middle East and must be condemned, the prime minister says.

On April 1, Israel bombed an Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, killing a top general and six other military officers.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the strike tantamount to an attack on Iranian soil and said Israel "must be punished, and it shall be", and on Sunday, Iran launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel.

In response, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has decried Iran's actions.

"Iran has ignored our call, and those of many other countries, not to proceed with these reckless attacks," he said in a statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Anyone who cares for the protection of innocent life must stand against these attacks.

"This escalation is a grave threat to the security of the Israel and the entire region. It risks greater instability and devastation across the Middle East."

The Australian government will continue working with international partners to pressure Iran to cease its destabilising actions, Mr Albanese said, and prevent the conflict from spreading.

The prime minister also condemned Iran's behaviour more broadly.

"Iran's ongoing flouting of international law, its egregious human rights abuses and threat to international security is why this government has imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans," he said.

Australians in the region, particularly those in Tel Aviv, Oman or Baghdad should follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media for public safety updates.

Those in need of emergency consular assistance can ring the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the development was incredibly concerning as violence threatens to spill into the broader region.

"We've seen enough bloodshed," he told ABC's Insiders.

"We don't want conflict in the Middle East to be broader and deeper than it already is."

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said the escalation was not in anyone's interest.

Unlike the US and the UK, which have deployed aircraft to shoot down some Israel-bound drones, Mr Conroy said the Australian government is focused on preventing the escalation of the conflict by supporting efforts of allies.

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan urged the government to offer Israel "all the support it can".

Meanwhile Liberal MP Julian Leeser has called on the government to close the Australian embassy in Iran.

"Australia has nothing in common with Iran, we must cut ties with this despotic regime," he said.

Liberal member for Berowra Julian Leeser
Julian Leeser is calling on the Australian government to close its embassy in Iran.

Prior to the attack, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong met with her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and urged his nation to stabilise the region.

The government's Smartraveller website also updated its advice for the region and warned Australians to reconsider their need to travel.

As the violence in Gaza stretches into its seventh month, tensions have spread across the region and threaten to morph into a wider conflict that pits Iran and its allies against Israel and its US supporter.

On October 7, Hamas - designated a terrorist group by the Australian government - launched an attack on Israel that killed 1200 people and led another 200 to be taken hostage.

Israel has since launched a ground offensive and bombing campaign on Gaza that has killed more than 33,000 people and displaced another 1.7 million according to the local health ministry.

With Reuters

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