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Reflections on Iran’s Nuclear Program
at the 2010 G8 Muskoka Summit

Susan Khazaeli
Senior Researcher, G8 Research Group
June 27, 2010

At the Muskoka Summit on June 25-26, the G8 leaders took concrete steps to address the challenges presented by Iran’s nuclear proliferation program. They reaffirmed support for Resolution 1929 of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which endorsed sanctions against Iran for its continued failure to comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

This is a positive step for the G8, which until recently was divided over imposing sanctions against Iran. The statements issued after the G8 foreign ministers meeting in March 2010, for example, avoided mentioning sanctions (see G8 Foreign Ministers Statement on Nuclear Non-proliferation, Disarmament and Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and Canadian Chair's Statement).

The G8 at Muskoka also renewed its commitment to the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, which was established the last time Canada hosted a summit, at Kananaskis in 2002. The G8 pledged to further the progress made at the recent Washington-hosted Nuclear Security Summit in order to reduce nuclear stockpiles and secure arsenals from theft and diversion. The grave international threat posed by nuclear terrorism and the means to meet these security challenges were discussed. The G8 encouraged all countries to cooperate fully with the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, which establish the new framework for the verification of nuclear energy (see G8 Leaders Statement on Countering Terrorism ). The G8 also urged all states to work together to establish a “world without nuclear weapons” (see Muskoka Declaration: Recovery and New Beginnings ).

The G8 welcomed the support of China in negotiation efforts. China has traditionally opposed punitive economic sanctions, but voted in favour of the most recent UNSC resolutions. Members also applauded the diplomatic efforts made by their G20 colleagues Brazil and Turkey, which resulted in a nuclear-swap deal. According to the agreement, Iran will transfer 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium to Turkey. However, in the future, the G8 may face opposition from Brazil and Turkey on additional sanctions, as they voted against UNSCR 1929. The G8 can instead be encouraged by the support of European partners. The European Parliament recently passed its own set of sanctions that target investments in Iran’s energy sector.

Finally, the G8 expressed deep concern about Iran’s continued disregard for the IAEA and the UNSC and its apparent lack of transparency surrounding its nuclear facilities. The G8 recognized Iran’s right to civilian nuclear energy, but stipulated that “this right comes with international obligations.” Accordingly, the G8 committed to urging the government of Iran to cooperate with the international community by suspending enrichment activities and by building international confidence regarding its intentions (see Muskoka Declaration: Recovery and New Beginnings).

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