G-8 Leaders Set Deadline For Resolution Of Iran Nuclear Stand-Off

G-8 Leaders Set Deadline For Resolution Of Iran Nuclear Stand-Off

G-8 leaders have laid down the gauntlet to Iran by setting a September deadline for the Islamic Republic to accept negotiations over its nuclear ambitions or else face tougher sanctions.

G-8 leaders have laid down the gauntlet to Iran by setting a September deadline for the Islamic Republic to accept negotiations over its nuclear ambitions or else face tougher sanctions.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters at the summit in the central Italian city of L'Aquila that September's meeting of the G-20 – the world's 20 leading economies – would be the deadline for Iran to resolve its nuclear dispute with the West.

"We made an effort to accept that we will not reinforce sanctions immediately in order to bring everyone on board," Sarkozy said, in reference to Russia's call for more time to consider fresh sanctions. "[The G-20 meeting in] Pittsburgh is the rendezvous. If there is no progress by then we will have to take decisions," he added.

The G-20 combines major developing powerhouses like China with the G-8.

In a separate joint statement, the G-8 said it was committed to finding a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program and urged Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency. "We sincerely hope that Iran will seize this opportunity to give diplomacy a chance," the statement said.

Western countries believe Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb. Tehran says its uranium-enrichment program has purely civilian aims and has rejected all overtures for talks.
  
  
Growing impatience with Tehran

he G 8 leaders found common ground on Iran The United States and Canada said the world's main industrialized nations were growing increasingly impatient with Iran's tactics.

"All G-8 nations are united. There is a strong consensus at the table that unless things change soon, there will be further action," said Canadian spokesman Dimitri Soudas.

"The discussion reflected, I'd say, a collective impatience with Iran and a desire to see real response going forward," US Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman added.

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns told reporters: "I think it's a strong statement and it reflects a real sense of urgency on the part of all of us."

The United States has had comprehensive sanctions in place for decades against Iran, but its European allies have been reluctant to impose sanctions, preferring to pursue diplomatic efforts.
  
  
Post-election crackdown condemned

G-8 leaders also criticized the Iranian regime's violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and the "unjustified" detention of journalists in Iran.

The eight leaders reiterated their "full respect for the sovereignty of Iran" but added that they deplored "the post-electoral violence, which led to the loss of lives of Iranian civilians," and called on the country's leaders to "solve the situation through democratic dialogue on the basis of the rule of law."

The joint statement said the leaders were "seriously concerned" about recent events in Iran, and warned that media restrictions and the detention of foreign nationals was "unacceptable," and warned against interference with embassies in the Islamic republic.

The G8 statements on Iran came as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepared to form a new government following his disputed election victory.

Ahmadinejad himself was also the focus of G-8 concern over his frequent denials that the mass murder of Jews under Germany's regime ever happened. "We condemn the declarations of President Ahmadinejad denying the Holocaust," the eight leaders said in another joint statement.
 
 
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