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Australian foreign minister calls for restraint in US-Iran tensions

Senator Payne said the Australian government would be focused on ensuring the safety of HMAS Toowoomba and its 190 sailors, which is part of an international coalition.

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“We will be ensuring they are carefully monitored, they work very closely with the leadership of the defence force, with the Defence Minister and of course the Prime Minister as we monitor that situation,” she told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

“But we are also very clear in saying we very committed to supporting in any way processes of de-escalation in the Middle East.”

Senator Payne said Australia was also working “every day” to securing the release of Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who has been held in a Tehran prison since October 2018.

“We have had an opportunity for consular a visit towards the end of last year,” she said.

“We’re very focused on working closely to make sure [we put forward] our view, which is we don’t accept the charges upon which she was detained, held, charged and convicted. And we want to ensure the conditions in which she is held are appropriate.”

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called for restraint in the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called for restraint in the Middle East.Credit:AAP

“Every single day that is part of my focus and I want to ensure Australians that we are working very hard to secure her release.”

Senator Payne earlier said the detention of the UK ambassador to Iran was a “concerning” development that undermined the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Britain’s ambassador in Iran Rob Macaire was briefly detained on Saturday, which Iranian media said was because he was inciting protests by attending a vigil for victims of the shot-down plane.

Iran admitted its military shown down the plane after Canada and the United States said its intelligence sources showed a missile had shot the airliner down.

The country has attributed the incident to human error, saying the plane was misidentified as a cruise missile flying over Tehran.

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