G-7 to discuss Iran at Foreign Ministers meeting later this week
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) Iran will be a significant topic on the agenda of the Group of 7 (G-7) Foreign Ministers meeting to be held in Germany on Thursday and Friday.
The G-7 consists of the world’s seven most advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US, along with the European Union (EU.)
The G-7 Foreign Ministers last met in September in New York on the sidelines of the opening of the UN General Assembly. Since then, two issues involving Iran have become much more prominent, and US officials have said that both will be discussed, when the ministers meet on Nov. 3 and 4.
One issue is the ongoing, country-wide protests in Iran, triggered by the Sept. 16 death of the young Kurdish woman, Jinna (Mahsa) Amini, while in the custody of Tehran’s so-called “Morality Police.” Those protests have continued into their seventh week, despite the deaths of over 200 protestors and the regime’s arrest of thousands more.
The Biden administration places a high priority on coordinating with its major allies and its coordination among the G-7 is evident in the response of member countries to the Iranian protests.
The US has led the G-7 in imposing sanctions on key figures and institutions involved in the brutal suppression of the Iranian protests.
On Sept 22, the US issued sanctions for that repression, and over the following month all the other members of the G-7, except Japan, did the same.
On Oct. 10, Britain announced its own sanctions, as it affirmed, “The UK stands with the people of Iran who are bravely calling for accountability from their government and for their fundamental human rights to be respected.”
“These sanctions send a clear message to the Iranian authorities – we will hold you to account for your repression of women and girls and for the shocking violence you have inflicted on your own people,” a statement from the UK Foreign Ministry said.
On Oct. 17, the EU announced similar sanctions, as it affirmed, “The European Union and its member states condemn the widespread and disproportionate use of force against peaceful protestors.”
“The killing of Mahsa Amini must be duly investigated and any proved responsible for her death must be held accountable,” the EU demanded.
The Canadian government did the same on Oct. 31, imposing sanctions and affirming,“The Iranian regime’s brutal crackdowns on protestors, and against women in particular, continue to violate the Iranian people’s human rights.”
Iranian Arms Sales to Russia for War in Ukraine, which is Central Concern of G-7
No issue is of greater importance to Europe than Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine on Feb. 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin expected a quick victory, but the Ukrainians put up an unexpected resistanc,e and the war has continued for over eight months—with Russia on the back foot!
That war is also Washington’s central concern. As President Joe Biden has affirmed, “Nothing like this has happened since World War II.”
Indeed, on Tuesday, the EU ambassador to Washington, Stavros Lambrinidis, affirmed that his organization strongly supports Ukraine, because “this is an existential battle for us.”
Moreover, there is no guarantee that the situation will not get even worse. The possibility arises that as Ukraine continues to push back on Russian forces, an increasingly desperate Russian leadership may resort to some form of nuclear device, whether a “dirty,” radioactive bomb or even a tactical nuclear weapon.
As The New York Times reported on Wednesday, Russian military leaders have discussed “when and how Moscow might use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.”
Those conversations took place some two weeks ago, and they have alarmed the Biden administration.
Yet Iran is arming the very party that might actually use a nuclear device!
Already in mid-July, White House National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, warned that Iran was preparing to supply Russia with armed drones. "Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline,” he said.
Less than two months later, it became clear that Russia was, indeed, using Iranian drones in Ukraine, and the US announced sanctions on Iranian companies involved in producing those weapons.
Contrary to the expectations of the US and the EU, Tehran has aligned itself with Moscow to a significant extent—and at a time of crisis between Russia and the West.
Indeed, as a State Department spokesperson told Kurdistan 24 already in early September, “Russia deepening an alliance with Iran is something that the whole world should look at and see as a profound threat.”
US Preview of G-7 Meeting
On Tuesday, senior State Department officials briefed the press on the upcoming G-7 Foreign Ministers meeting. There is far more unanimity within the G-7, it seems, on the issue of the Iranian protests and the regime’s repression of them than on the issue of its arms sales to Russia. Above all, some EU members fear Russian retaliation for supporting Ukraine, while others believe that the strongest support for Ukraine is necessary to block further Russian aggression.
The G-7 Foreign Ministers will be “focused on the ongoing protests in Iran and the violent response by the regime,” on the morning of Nov. 4, Nerissa Cook, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, told journalists.
Pressed by Kurdistan 24 to explain more about the G-7’s likely deliberations regarding Iran, particularly as Europeans see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ias such a serious threat, Deputy State Department Spokesperson, Vedant Patel, added, “I have no doubt that a wide range of Iran’s malign activities in the region, especially the proliferation of their UAV networks that we’ve seen being used in Ukraine, will be discussed.”
But “we just don’t want to get ahead of the meeting or the process,” Patel continued, “as some of these events will have more robust readouts after they take place.”