Reuters: The Group of Eight industrialized powers plan to back “further measures” against Iran if it does not comply with U.N. demands to suspend its nuclear enrichment program, G8 diplomats said on Tuesday. By Louis Charbonneau
BERLIN (Reuters) – The Group of Eight industrialized powers plan to back “further measures” against Iran if it does not comply with U.N. demands to suspend its nuclear enrichment program, G8 diplomats said on Tuesday.
The United Nations has imposed limited sanctions on Iran after the Islamic Republic rejected resolutions ordering it to freeze its most sensitive nuclear work, which the West suspects is aimed at developing an atom bomb. Iran insists its program is purely to generate electricity.
One senior official from a G8 member state said the current draft of a statement on non-proliferation to be approved at the group’s June summit in Heiligendamm, Germany calls for increasing pressure on Iran if it remains defiant.
The draft says the G8 “will support adopting further measures should Iran refuse to comply with its obligations,” the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Another G8 diplomat confirmed the draft text.
Diplomats say Russia has been at odds with the other G8 members — the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan — on the question of how tough the language about Iran should be. G8 statements are adopted by consensus.
Russia has backed both U.N. Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran though it has made it clear it feels putting too much pressure on Iran may be counterproductive.
The draft text will be subjected to further discussions when G8 political directors meet in Berlin on Wednesday to prepare for the Heiligendamm summit.
NEW U.N. RESOLUTION ON IRAN
Political directors from Germany, the current G8 president, and the five permanent Security Council members — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — will meet on the sidelines of the G8 meeting to discuss developments on Iran.
“They will discuss possible language for a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran,” a diplomat from one of the six powers told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The Chinese delegation will participate in the talks by telephone, diplomats said.
U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns will represent the United States at the meeting where delegates will discuss a recent meeting between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.
“They’re going to have another consultation on the Iran nuclear issue to talk about Mr. Solana’s past discussion with Mr. Larijani as well as the one that is planned for the next week or two,” U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington. He gave no date for the new meeting.
Solana said earlier this week that his talks with Larijani were very difficult as Tehran stressed it had no intention of suspending uranium enrichment.
Several diplomats told Reuters that world powers were satisfied with the impact the sanctions against Iran were having. They said Iranians were growing increasingly worried about the negative economic impact the penalties were having.
“Even the Americans expressed pleasant surprise in this regard, especially since they were initially very skeptical about what they thought was an overly watered-down resolution,” the G8 official said.
“Letting those resolutions continue to bite is not necessarily a bad thing.”
(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington)