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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 945

Mr SIMPKINS (Cowan) (21:26): I seek leave to speak on this matter again.

Leave granted.

Mr SIMPKINS: I welcome the opportunity to again echo the remarks of the member for Fremantle with regard to the situation in Iran and the terrible state of human rights in that country. I recently, in the last couple of weeks, had the opportunity to visit Israel. As part of that visit, not far from Haifa, I visited the headquarters of the Baha'i faith. One of the things that happens when Iran seeks to persecute the Baha'i is they constantly refer to the link between the Baha'i and Israel, as if there is some sort of conspiracy. As we know the headquarters of the Baha'i is within the land of Israel but they are not associated with the Israeli government. They are a faith that have sought to further their own interests. Most of them are located within Iran, there is no doubt about that, but the scapegoating that I referred to in my last contribution is clearly about the maintenance of the current regime in Iran.

It is a regime which, as I said before, fails comprehensively in every sense of the word. When you have the resources that Iran has, there is no reason why they should not succeed. And, yet, the reality is that since 1979, since the Islamic revolution, the country has continued to fail. They cannot run an economy. That is one thing but the way they seek to legitimise their position and the governing of the country comes down to scapegoating. It comes down to finding reasons why they have failed, and it is always about blame and, at the heart of it, it then becomes about asking, 'How do we maintain our regime?' Again, it is focused internally on who they can persecute, who they can hold responsible for their own failings—and the Baha'i are right up there on that list, as are a number of other minority groups that exist and which have been referred to by previous speakers. Externally they seek to demonise Israel; they seek to unite the remainder of the Islamic world in their persecution and their pursuit of Israel.

In the end, all the Iranian regime has really got is base power. They are looking for nuclear weapon opportunities, and they will seek to lead the Islamic world through that means. They do not have a legitimate claim over that part of the world, and whilst they might have great ambition they do not have any real claim for the hegemony that I spoke about before.

Debate adjourned.