Australia and Iran have agreed to share intelligence relating to Australians fighting with extremist groups in Iraq, particularly Islamic State (IS) group, Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has announced.
Ms Bishop said Iran and Australia had agreed to share intelligence on Australian citizens fighting in Iraq as part of each country’s effort to counter IS fighters.
She met with Iran’s foreign minister, president and head of the National Security Council on Saturday in Tehran.
Ms Bishop said Australia began exploring intelligence sharing on this issue late last year. She added that Australia would have access to information gathered by Iranian operatives in Iraq.
Meeting w/ Australian FM @JulieBishopMP. We both emphasized the great opportunity for co-op. #ConstructiveEngagement pic.twitter.com/uXItcFVQpS
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 18, 2015
Ms Bishop spoke after her meeting with President Hassan Rouhani, during her first visit to Iran.
She revealed the details of the cooperation after a meeting with Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani, describing it as an extraordinary deal that will have beneficial outcomes in the fight against global terrorism.
“During my discussions with the national leadership here it was agreed that we could share intelligence, particularly on the foreign terrorist fighters from Australia who are taking part in this conflict in Iraq,” Bishop said.
“It was an informal arrangement whereby we would share intelligence that would give us information on the Australians who are taking part and I believe that Iran has information that we would seek and they were very agreeable to share that information with us,” she said.
About 100 Australians are believed to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with IS, with authorities warning they present a serious threat to domestic security.
There are also concerns about supporters of IS and other radical groups within Australia.
At the weekend, five teenagers were arrested over an alleged plot to carry out an attack at a World War One centenary event.