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In a disturbing escalation of government harassment of migrant communities, the homes of 10 Iranian-Australian families in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne were raided by federal police on June 3.
In a disturbing escalation of government harassment of migrant communities, the homes of 10 Iranian-Australian families in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne were raided by federal police on June 3. Claiming to be hunting members of Mujaheddin-e-Khalq (MEK), an organisation that has carried out terrorist attacks on Iranian government officials, plain-clothed police confiscated computers, diaries, books, papers, photos and cheque books. All the Iranians raided were opponents of the Iranian government. Most — but not all — were MEK supporters. “They even took photographs of our bathroom and toilet”, said Tayeb Sadeghian, one of the Iranians whose house was raided in Brisbane. Also raided was Lahleh Arean, who works with the Iranian community show on the 4EB radio station. The raids came less than a week after the Iranian activists spoke outside offices of the immigration department during a national day of action against deportations of refugees. The federal government recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran allowing it to forcibly deport Iranian asylum seekers. The threat of this memorandum is being used as leverage to force Iranians to “voluntarily” return to Iran. Canberra has also conducted recent trade negotiations with the Iranian government. Under laws passed last year, it is illegal to fund or be a member of an organization classified as “terrorist”.

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