Australia Conveys U.S. Ultimatum to Iran

As we noted yesterday, intelligence reports suggest that the recent bombings in Saudi Arabia were coordinated by al Qaeda elements in Iran; it has also been reported that the Iranian government had advance knowledge of the attacks. This is leading to a more aggressive posture by the U.S. government; Iran policy will be debated by State and Defense Department officials tomorrow. This morning’s article in the Washington Post, which we linked to yesterday, was based on State Department leaks and seems to have been calculated to support State’s side of the policy debate. The leaks may also, however, have been meant as a warning to the Mullahs who run Iran.
Today’s Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia is helping to convey America’s tougher line to the Iranian government:
“The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, delivered a tough, last-chance call to Iran yesterday to crack down on al-Qaeda terrorists allegedly in the country. His warning came as the United States threatened aggressive action to overthrow the Iranian Government.
“Mr Downer told his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, that Tehran must do everything possible to crack down on al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Australia wanted to see tougher action and Washington saw this as a ‘life-or-death issue’, he told Dr Kharrazi.
“Australian officials confirmed that Mr Downer was delivering the warning on behalf of Canberra and Washington. ‘I cannot put this issue strongly enough, this is fundamental for Australia and America,’ Mr Downer told the Herald.”
For some reason this hasn’t gotten a lot of play in the American press, but the Bush administration is clearly upping the pressure on Iran, with a clear message: expel al Qaeda or risk being overthrown.

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