USA was at first worried that Kevin Rudd as P.M might not toe the USA line
Another cause for US alarm was Rudd’s announcement in June 2008 of a new International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (the Evans Commission). Cables show the US was affronted by Rudd’s decision to announce the Commission without telling them first……. By the time preparations for the 2010 RevCon began, Rudd government officials were echoing the line of their Howard-era predecessors.
WikiLeaks cables show how Australia works with the US to get Iran, Green Left 6 Sept, 12, “……Kevin Rudd US-Australian relations on nuclear issues were complicated by Kevin Rudd’s rise to power in 2007. Labor had a longstanding policy of opposing nuclear cooperation with non-NPT signatories, which the US feared might jeopardise its planned civil nuclear agreement with India, a non-NPT state. The US needed Australia’s support to approve the deal in the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG) , which sets guidelines for nuclear-related exports. It repeatedly raised the issue in meetings with Australian diplomats.
Early on there were signs that Labor’s policy could be dispensed with. While Rudd was still Opposition leader, the US Embassy reported that his foreign policy adviser, Peter Khalil : “Understood and accepted that renewed nuclear-power cooperation with India was a necessary price to pay for a closer relationship. Australia’s uranium industry could in fact benefit from renewed trade with India, he noted …”
A few months after Rudd took office in February 2008, defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon offered further hope , telling a meeting with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates that the “political aspects” would have to be approached sensitively, but “both he and [foreign minister Stephen] Smith are personally supportive of such enhanced cooperation”. By August that year, Rudd’s senior advisor, Gary Quinlan, assured the US Ambassador that Australia “will not stand in the way”. By September, the NSG had granted India an exception as a non-NPT state and approved the US-India deal.
Another cause for US alarm was Rudd’s announcement in June 2008 of a new International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (the Evans Commission). Cables show the US was affronted by Rudd’s decision to announce the Commission without telling them first: “Along with other members of the diplomatic community here, we are struggling to understand why a careful operative like Rudd, with his solid bureaucratic and diplomatic credentials, continues to risk undermining support for his goals by failing to consult with stakeholders and build support from within.”
Following the announcement, US Embassy officials made their view on the Evans Commission clear in a cable that cited a derisive article about it by News Limited journalist Greg Sheridan. It described Sheridan as “one of the more respected journalists” and quoted his article at length.
And in a meeting shortly after Rudd’s announcement, the US was keen to make sure Rudd’s Commission stayed on message. Acting Assistant Secretary of the US State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Patricia McNerney, “discouraged an International Commission predominantly focused on disarmament, noting it would divert the spotlight away from such proliferators and NPT violators as Iran, Syria and North Korea, and ignored the positive progress that was being made in disarmament.”
“No better friend in the world”
Despite these concerns, the US was confident that under Rudd, Australian policy would “stay at the tough end on Iran”. The Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, told the US Embassy that Rudd had described Iranian President Ahmadinejad as “a loathsome individual on every level”, and threatened to take him to an international tribunal on charges of inciting genocide against Israel.
The Israelis regarded Rudd as being a useful tool in the propaganda war against Iran , with Ambassador Rotem noting: “Israel sees Australia as playing an important role in the “global PR battle” on Iran because PM Rudd is viewed favorably by the “European Left,” many of whom are skeptical about taking a tough line towards Tehran.”
The US was further reassured by then deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s comment that “Australia’s ultimate priority would be Israel’s security”.
By the time preparations for the 2010 RevCon began, Rudd government officials were echoing the line of their Howard-era predecessors. On the subject of non-compliance on the part of Iran and North Korea, DFAT officials told the US : “Australia believes that NPT parties should take action to address this issue. However, the, treaty itself does not address what represents non-compliance. Debate on this issue could lead to states unhelpfully arguing that nuclear weapon states are in non-compliance with their Article commitments.”
The UN passed the first of four resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran in 2006. Australia introduced autonomous sanctions in October 2008 . Discussing Iran’s nuclear program in October 2009, First Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Patrick Suckling, told the US thatAustralia was “completely aligned” with the US position , adding: “Australia wants the most robust, intrusive and debilitating sanctions possible.”
When the US sought to ramp up UN sanctions against Iran a few months later, US Ambassador Bleich confidently reported that Australian officials, “will follow the U.S. lead on Iran and would be receptive to any input on how best to proceed. Australia can be counted as a strong supporter of whatever course the United States chooses to pursue.”
In June 2010 the UN Security Council passed another resolution to increase sanctions against on Iran. Within days then foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith announced more Australian autonomous bilateral sanctions against Iran. …..
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