oreign ministers at the economic summit have agreed that they should seek ways to reciprocate Iran's recent overtures to improve relations with the West.
In dinner conversations Saturday night, the seven foreign ministers concluded that Iran has embarked on an intense campaign aimed at breaking its isolation as a diplomatic pariah.
Several of the ministers reported being approached in recent months by Iranian envoys carrying conciliatory messages seeking enhanced trade and political contacts.
They quickly agreed that such approaches should be encouraged in order to nudge the Tehran government toward moderation and, in particular, to thwart chances that it could fall under the influence of the Soviet Union.
Britain and the United States apparently have not been included in the recent courtship.
West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher said Iran's ambassador to Bonn, Motlab Navab, asked for a special meeting last week in which he emphasized his country's strong desire to bolster cooperation in political, economic and cultural fields.
During the 30-minute session, Navab told Genscher that Iran has high hopes for better relations with Bonn and western nations in general but that its leadership was disappointed by repeated rebuffs.
As a sign of Iran's good faith, Navab pointed out that special security precautions had been taken by the Iranian government to protect the Goethe Institute, a West German cultural outpost in Tehran.
Genscher said he was impressed by Navab's presentation and urged that western countries respond positively to such appeals.
Canadian delegates revealed that in recent months they have broached with Iranian officials the possibility of reopening an embassy in Tehran. Canada's embassy was shut down after its staff managed to smuggle several U.S. diplomats out of Iran after hiding them in the embassy for several months during the 444-day hostage crisis.
France also reported beginning consultations with Iran in hopes of improving relations, despite the fact that Paris has supplied vast quantities of arms to Iran's foe, the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.
Japan, which buys most of Iran's oil, has maintained relatively good relations with the fundamentalist regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Japanese officials explained that they, too, have detected in Tehran an interest in bolstering trade relations and praised Iran's record for promptly repaying its debts.
"The Iranians now seem flush with cash and definitely want to acquire respectability as a normal and reliable trading partner," a European spokesman said.
Several delegates speculated that Iran may now consider its powerful northern neighbor, the Soviet Union, a more immediate threat to its independence.
Iran recently banned the local Tudeh party loyal to Moscow, arrested many of its leaders and expelled several Soviet diplomats.
Iranian leaders also have stepped up attacks on the Soviets as atheistic threats to Shiite Moslem fundamentalism and have warned that the Soviets are intent on undermining the Iranian revolution.