G-8 Leaders Give Iran a September Deadline

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking for leaders at the G-8 conference, gave Iran a September deadline to begin talks on its nuclear program.

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Avraham Zuroff,

French President Sarkozy
French President Sarkozy
Israel news photo: (Flash 90)

If there is no progress by then we will have to take decisions.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking on behalf of leaders at the G-8 conference in Italy, gave Iran a September deadline to begin negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program. However, he did not specify what measures would be taken to halt Iran's unsupervised nuclear development.

Sarkozy said that the world leaders will re-evaluate their relationship with Iran at their next meeting in the United States on September 24. “If there is no progress by then we will have to take decisions,” Sarkozy said.

Iran has refused to discuss its nuclear program, which it claims is only for peaceful purposes. 

The G-8 said in a separate statement that they are obligated to find a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We hope that Iran will take advantage of this opportunity to give diplomacy a chance to solve the debate regarding the nuclear issue,” the statement said. “Nevertheless, we are still concerned about the dangers regarding the proliferation of nuclear weaponry that comes after Iran’s nuclear program.”

The English-language Arab newspaper, Al Jazeera made no mention of the deadline to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It instead focused on the leaders’ discussion of the global economic crisis.

The G-8 leaders also expressed their sorrow over the violence that the Iranian regime has taken in suppressing demonstrators after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who remains committed to developing Iran’s nuclear program. The leaders also condemned Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial.

US Sending Mixed Messages
Zigzag messages from U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden about a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities are meant to “distinguish” the two countries, national security adviser Uzi Arad said Wednesday. "My understanding of what Biden said is that the second part is the interesting part - not that Israel is sovereign to act, but that he said the United States acts differently. Essentially, he distinguished himself" from Israel, Arad said.

"What was important for him was to transmit to the Iranians that we, the United States, are different." Obama's quick response, said Arad, was an attempt to clarify that the U.S. was still interested in dialogue despite Iran's protester crackdown following the disputed presidential election. According to Arad, there was no attempt by the U.S. to suggest it would give a green light to an Israeli offensive. Israel's right to make its own defense decisions is a right that "the United States cannot take away from Israel, and doesn't try to," stated Arad.