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Iran: Australia's reaction

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This post is part of the Iranian elections 2009 debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

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15 June 2009 10:57


This post is part of the Iranian elections 2009 debate thread. To read other posts in this debate, click here.

What a difference an election makes. And I'm not talking about Iran's contested effort, but the one Australia conducted in late 2007. Before that poll, then-Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd was ready to take Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the International Court of Justice for inciting genocide.

Yesterday, it seems, Prime Minister Rudd would not even countenace the possibility of electoral irregularities in Iran, treating the re-election of Ahmadinejad as a fait accompli. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has yet to make a statement about the poll.*

Rodger Shanahan regards this as an 'appropriate' response. But why the rush? Yes, the clerical establishment and security forces will probably win the day over any popular movement, but why pull the rug out from under the feet of the reformists so early? US Vice-President Joe Biden's recent statement suggests the US is yet to make up its mind about the validity of the poll, and it's hard to see how it could harm Australia's interests for us to do the same.

Perhaps Rudd had no real plan when he made his statement, and he was just badly briefed about the Iranian election.

* Smith gave an interview to ABC TV this morning, in which he refused to say directly that Australia recognises the election result. Good. (Thanks to Scott for the correction.)

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