Russia blocks concrete measures at G8 on Iran’s nuclear drive
Leaders of the industrialized nations failed to agree on tough measures, including sanctions, against Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons in the first day of their three-day deliberations at the Italian town of l’Aquila, Wednesday, July 8. Russian opposition to condemning Iran left only an endorsement of the diplomatic track, which may have been directed more against an Israeli military option than Iran. government-backed violence in the aftermath of Iran’s dispute election last month was “deplored.”
In any case, the next day, Tehran topped up its refusal to discuss its nuclear program with a sharp response to the mild G8 statement: “We shall not halt our nuclear program or retreat by a single step.”
The Iranian nuclear issue did not even rate a statement separate from the other security issues.
Nevertheless, US undersecretary of state William Burns, playing the setback down, praised the statement as a victory for unity, representing “a real sense of urgency.”
French president Nicolas Sarkozy said that fellow G8 members had agreed to give Iran a chance for negotiations until September, when the next G8 conference in Pittsburg would take stock of progress towards freezing its nuclear activities and “make decisions.” He did not explain how they proposed to bring an unwilling Iran to the negotiating table or persuade Russia and China to endorse the new sanctions he hinted at.
On other issues, consensus on real steps was just as elusive. The G8 leaders agreed to “try to limit global warming to just 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels by 2050, after lowering their target of halving greenhouse gas emissions by the target year.
It was decided to invite 14 developing countries to take part in the next G8 summit so ending the group’s standing as a club for rich nations.