Their meeting was scheduled to focus on stabilising Afghanistan. But the crisis in Iran is now set to dominate a gathering of G8 foreign ministers in the Italian city of Trieste.
While the talks are likely to deplore the post-election violence, there are differences over how to approach the Islamic Republic. Russia, for example, wants to avoid isolating Iran and maintain dialogue, with no question of condemning a vote which Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov has called “an exercise in democracy.” Yet the G8 also includes Britain and the US which Tehran has accused of inciting the street protests. With demonstrators making their presence felt at the talks, Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini stressed the need for compromise. “In the G8, we have countries from Japan to Russia, which have fairly close relations with Iran, but faced with death, violence, with events of such seriousness, I think we will all come together,” he said. Iran had been asked to attend the talks but, weary of awaiting a response and in the light of recent events, Italy ended up withdrawing the invitation.