Members of the G-8 meeting in Huntsville, Ontario
Members of the G-8 meeting in Huntsville, Ontario on June 25, 2010 Photo by AP
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World leaders "believe absolutely" that Israel may decide to take military action against Iran to prevent the latter from acquiring nuclear weapons, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday.

“Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively,” Berlusconi told reporters following talks with other Group of Eight leaders north of Toronto.

The leaders of the G-8, which comprises Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and the United States, devoted much of their two-day session to discussion of the contentious nuclear programs unfolding in North Korea and Iran.

The leaders issued a statement on Saturday calling on Iran to "respect the rule of law" and to "hold a "transparent dialogue" over its nuclear ambitions.

In their communiqué, the leaders of the world's richest countries said they respected Iran's right to a civilian nuclear program, but noted that such a right must be accompanied by commitment to international law.
"We are profoundly concerned by Iran's continued lack of transparency regarding its nuclear activities and its stated intention to continue and expand enriching uranium, including to nearly 20 percent," they said in a communique.

"Our goal is to persuade Iran's leaders to engage in a transparent dialogue about its nuclear activities and to meet Iran's international obligations," adding that they urged the Islamic Republic "to implement relevant resolutions to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."

Their conclusions followed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration late last week that Tehran was prepared to lay down its conditions to the international community regarding discussion of its nuclear program.