'Iran preparing new package for West'

Mottaki downplays G8 criticism; Obama warns Teheran faces tougher sanctions in September.

Barack Obama 88 (photo credit: )
Barack Obama 88
(photo credit: )
Teheran is preparing a new package of "political, security and international" issues to put to the West, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced on Saturday, as he downplayed the criticism of Iran by world leaders at the G8 summit in Italy. "The package can be a good basis for talks with the West. The package will contain Iran's stances on political, security and international issues," Reuters quoted Mottaki as telling a press conference. In Iran's first reaction to warnings from world leaders at the G8 summit on Friday that the Islamic Republic could face tougher sanctions in September over its nuclear ambitions, Mottaki said Teheran had not received "any new message" from the summit. "We have not received any new message from the G8. But based on the news we have received, they had different views on different issues which did not lead to a unanimous agreement in some areas," the minister reportedly said. On Friday, US President Barack Obama said the world would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, a day after a senior Iranian official vowed his country would not back down "even one step" over its nuclear work. "We're not going to just wait indefinitely and allow for the development of a nuclear weapon... and wake up one day and find ourselves in a much worse situation and unable to act," Obama said at the close of the G8 summit. Obama however stressed that he and others were not looking for their summit partners to embrace sanctions at this week's meeting. Instead, he said, "What we wanted was exactly what we got - a statement of condemnation about Iran's actions in the wake of its disputed presidential election." In comments published Thursday, Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser on international affairs, said Western countries did not want the Islamic state to have peaceful nuclear activities. Obama had said Friday that G8 leaders voiced their concern about what he called the appalling events surrounding the recent Iranian elections and the violence that followed. "The leaders assembled at L'Aquila also addressed the threat of nuclear proliferation in Iran," he said, "with a strong statement calling on Iran to fulfill its responsibilities without delay. "This notion that we were trying to get sanctions or that this was a forum where we could get sanctions was not accurate," the president continued. "I think the real story here was consensus in that [G8] statement, including Russia, which doesn't make statements like that lightly," he said. "Now the other story there was the agreement that we will reevaluate Iran's posture towards negotiating the cessation of a nuclear weapons policy. "We'll evaluate that at the G20 meeting in September," Obama said. "I think that what that does is, it provides a time frame. The international community has said, 'Here's a door you can walk through that allows you to lessen tensions and more fully join the international community.'" He added: "If Iran chooses not to walk through that door, then you have on record the G8 to begin with and, I think, potentially a lot of other countries." Obama said his hope is that the Iranian leadership would recognize that "world opinion is clear."