Iran General NewsINTERVIEW - Italy wants G8 repudiation of Iran rights...

INTERVIEW – Italy wants G8 repudiation of Iran rights abuses

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ImageReuters: G8 hosts Italy will press foreign ministers meeting this week to jointly condemn rights abuses in Iran following its disputed presidential election, Italy's foreign minister told Reuters on Tuesday.

By Phil Stewart and Roberto Landucci

ImageROME (Reuters) – G8 hosts Italy will press foreign ministers meeting this week to jointly condemn rights abuses in Iran following its disputed presidential election, Italy's foreign minister told Reuters on Tuesday.

"I think we should search for a common position among G8 countries," Franco Frattini said ahead of June 25-27 talks in the northern Italian city of Trieste.

He said any G8 statement would be based on the principle that Iranian authorities guarantee transparency in the election "but also say with absolute clarity that violence against peaceful protesters cannot be tolerated…"

"That, evidently, expulsions in mass of journalists are not acceptable," he added.

Iranian authorities said earlier on Tuesday they would teach a lesson to "rioters" detained after the most widespread unrest since the birth of the Islamic Republic.

Hundreds of protesters have been detained by police to clamp down on protests triggered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed June 12 re-election.

Iranian authorities have also accused Western powers of inciting the violence.

"We don't want to interfere in internal affairs, but here we're talking about people's fundamental rights — and in many cases these are non-Iranians who were involved, or journalists who have been expelled," Frattini said.

"Therefore, on all of this, I think a word from the G8 would be important."

He added that consensus would also need to come from Russia, which had been more "cautious" on Iran.

Iran, along with other neighbours of Afghanistan and Pakistan, was invited to attend discussions on June 26 which Frattini said were aimed at creating a roadmap toward stabilising the troubled region.

But Tehran declined to answer Italy's invitation, a de facto "no" according to Frattini, who called it a "lost opportunity".

Frattini added that the G8 would also address the issues of non-proliferation, concerns about North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, piracy and international terrorism.

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