(AFP) – Jul 8, 2009
L'AQUILA, Italy (AFP) — Italy's foreign minister said G8 leaders meeting here Wednesday had yet to reach an accord on condemning Tehran's crackdown on post-election protests, the ANSA news agency reported.
"On Iran, we will find the right wording," said the minister, Franco Frattini, speaking after the leaders of the world's most powerful nations held a working lunch to open their annual summit.
"The important thing is that the international community does not tolerate violence and the violation of human rights," he said.
G8 foreign ministers holding a preparatory meeting in Trieste, northeastern Italy, last month agreed to "deplore" but not "condemn" the bloody crackdown.
They called on Iran to resolve its political crisis quickly with "democratic dialogue and peaceful means".
Divergences appeared when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that isolating Iran was the "wrong approach" and could derail efforts to win cooperation from Tehran on its nuclear programme.
Again at the L'Aquila summit, a threat of sanctions against Tehran appears unlikely because of Moscow's objections, according to a senior European diplomat.
"We won't go further in L'Aquila because Russia opposes interference in countries' internal affairs," he said on condition of anonymity.
Relations between Iran and the West, already strained over the nuclear issue, have been further damaged by Tehran's arrest of a French citizen and several Iranian employees of the British embassy.
The Frenchwoman, a university researcher, was picked up earlier this month as she was preparing to leave the country, and has been accused of spying. One of the embassy employees is also still in custody and facing trial.
London and Paris have both furiously insisted that the detainees are innocent, and fellow European Union member governments have also made diplomatic protests over the incident.
Tehran has remained defiant, however, and supreme leader Ali Khamenei declared: "The Iranian nation warns the leaders of those countries trying to take advantage of the situation, beware! The Iranian nation will react."
According to European diplomats, leaders are considering protesting by temporarily recalling their ambassadors from Tehran and reducing the number of visas they issue to Iranian travellers.
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