SYDNEY (Dow Jones)--Australia has used its powers under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act to block a number of local companies from making shipments to Iran, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Thursday, but declined to reveal the contents of the shipments.
Defense Minister John Faulkner invoked the act on three occasions, Rudd said, consistent with Australia's obligations under international law to block the spread of nuclear weapons.
"With Iran, we have a very hardline approach. They are developing a nuclear weapons program which is against the security interests of Australia" and the international community, Rudd told Sky News television.
Asked to detail the contents of the shipments, the prime minister said that raised questions of national security that he was "not prepared to go into".
The Australian newspaper reported earlier Thursday that at least one prohibition notice related to a planned shipment of pumps that could have been used to cool nuclear power plants.
The 15-year-old law had previously been used only once before--to block another shipment to Iran in 2005--but has now been used several times in as many months as the diplomatic and trade war with Iran escalates, the paper said.
Australia already has trade sanctions against Iran.
Rudd said Iran poses a threat to regional and global peace.
"If you look at the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program, and their consistent thumbing of the nose to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the international community more broadly, and the continuation of their nuclear weapons program despite international condemnation, there are no alternatives other than to maintain a hard line," the prime minister said.No, no, no, there's also "outreach" and groveling and bribery and wowing 'em with your warmth and charm and middle name and...
Did I mention groveling?