July 9/09. G8 leaders failed to
agree on tough measures, including sanctions, against Iran's drive for
nuclear weapons in their three-day deliberations at the Italian town of
l'Aquila, on July 8.
Russian opposition to condemning
Iran left only an endorsement of the diplomatic track, which may have been
directed more against an Israeli military option than Iran. In any case, the
next day, Tehran topped up its refusal to discuss its nuclear program with a
sharp response to the mild G8 statement: "We shall not halt our nuclear
program or retreat by a single step."
Nevertheless, US undersecretary of
state William Burns, playing the setback down, praised the statement as a
victory for unity, representing "a real sense of urgency." French president
Nicolas Sarkozy said Iran had a chance for negotiations until September,
when unspecified decisions would have to be made.