Friday, June 30, 2006

Iran rejects G8 deadline

July 01, 2006
"nuclear iran"-- Iran has dismissed a deadline of July 5 from the Group of Eight industrialised nations to give a "clear and substantive response" to an offer of incentives for Tehran to scale back its nuclear program.
Iran said yesterday it needed until August, threatening to drive a wedge between the G8 members in the run-up to the group's summit in St Petersburg from July 15 to July 17.

A meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Moscow on Thursday failed to agree on how to respond if Iran did not reply, or turned down the June 6 offer from the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.

The foreign ministers bowed to Russian pressure not to mention the issue of Moscow's recent moves to curb democracy.

Critics of the Kremlin had called for Western leaders to boycott the summit because of President Vladimir Putin's moves to reassert control over parliament, the media and the energy industry. At the very least, they wanted Western leaders to criticise Russia for falling short of the G8 membership criteria of being a democracy and a liberal market economy.

But Russian democracy was not even mentioned at the meeting, which was dominated by Iran. A statement issued afterwards said: "We are disappointed by the absence of an official Iranian response to this positive proposal.

"We expect to hear a clear and substantive response" at the July5 meeting between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu urged Iran to respond "as soon as possible" to the offer.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted the meeting did not consider imposing sanctions, which Moscow and Beijing oppose, if Iran turned down the incentives.

There was no official response from Tehran, which has said it would respond by August 22.

Western officials said the six big powers - the US, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany - would review progress on July 12, before the G8 summit.

"Everyone's waiting to see what happens on July 5," British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said.

"This is a meeting of the foreign ministers to discuss a range of issues that concern the members of the G8," she said.

"There are two pretty obvious issues: one, the issue of Iran; theother, events in the Middle East. It's not altogether surprising that those issues dominated the agenda."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington would not hesitate to raise its concerns about Russian democracy and Moscow's reliability as an energy supplier.

source:The Times
posted by ali ghanandi-irannuk


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