28 June 2010
Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reportedly said that he and fellow world leaders "believe absolutely" that Israel may decide to take military action against Iran to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. “Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively,” Berlusconi was quoted by ‘Haaretz’ as telling reporters following talks with other G-8 leaders near Toronto, Canada, on Saturday.
The leaders of Britain, Canada France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States devoted much of their two-day session to discuss the contentious nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran. They afterwards issued a joint communiqué calling on the regime in Iran to "respect the rule of law" and to "hold a "transparent dialogue" over its nuclear ambitions. "We are profoundly concerned by Iran's continued lack of transparency regarding its nuclear activities and its stated intention to continue and expand enriching uranium, including to nearly 20 percent," the statement said.
"Our goal is to persuade Iran's leaders to engage in a transparent dialogue about its nuclear activities and to meet Iran's international obligations," the leaders declared, urging the Islamic Republic "to implement relevant resolutions to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."
Meanwhile, CIA Director Leon Panetta has said that Tehran now probably had enough low-enriched uranium to build two nuclear weapons, although it would likely take two years to build them. Panetta also expressed doubts that recent UN sanctions against Iran will put an end to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Panetta told the ABC show ‘This Week’ that there was "some debate" as to whether Iran would proceed with building a bomb. Asked about a possible Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Panetta said Israel was giving the United States enough room on the diplomatic and political fronts.
Russian President Dmitry called the CIA report “worrying”. He said: “This information has to be checked, but such information is always worrying – and all the more so because the international community does not recognize the Iranian nuclear program as transparent."
Iran rejected Panetta's comments, saying they amounted to “psychological war.” A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran declared: “What Iran is pursuing is only in the framework of the rights that its membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency entitles it to. The real concern is disarmament and non-proliferation."
Read more on this issue on Robin Shepherd's Blog.
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