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Ahmadinejad braces for clash over oil minister

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will bid Wednesday to push his nomination for oil minister through parliament, hoping the chamber will back away from vetoing his candidate for a second time. Lawmakers speculated on Tuesday that Ahmadinejad could even withdraw the nomination of controversial unknown Seyed Sadegh Mahsooli …

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Iran rebuffs EU call to freeze nuclear activities

TEHRAN (Reuters) — Iran rebuked the European Union on Tuesday for calling on it to freeze nuclear fuel activities, insisting it had a clear right to develop a full civilian nuclear energy programme. “The EU’s statement was surprising. We suggest the Europeans change their behaviour toward Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman …

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US official seeks to jump-start Sudan peace moves

NAIROBI — Sudan’s government and opposition rebels must jump-start flagging peace efforts by ending squabbling inside both camps, or spiralling violence in Darfur may unravel a tenuous truce, a top US official said on Monday. US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said Sudan could not expect Washington to lift …

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Arab reformists trapped between regimes, US

MANAMA — Arab activists meeting in Bahrain on Tuesday to press for democratic change find themselves caught between battling “dictator” regimes and US-led initiatives for reform, which are suspected of serving US interests. While some activists at a Manama conference insisted that Arab democratic movements are too weak to implement …

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‘Tel Aviv exploiting pressure on Damascus’

DAMASCUS (AP) — Syria accused Israel on Tuesday of seeking to exploit intense US-led pressure on Damascus to reject calls for peace talks over the occupied Golan Heights. “Israeli officials are trying to exploit the wave of political, media and psychological pressure on Syria in order to express in a …

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Annan seeks to allay Arab fears over Syria

CAIRO (AFP) — UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sought Tuesday in Cairo to assuage Arab fears over possible action against Syria but urged Damascus to cooperate fully with the international probe into the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. “The message must go out that impunity will not be …

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2nd Saddam trial attorney shot dead

BAGHDAD (Reuters) — Gunmen killed a second defence lawyer acting in Saddam Hussein’s trial for crimes against humanity on Tuesday, renewing questions over whether the former president can get a fair trial amid Iraq’s daily violence. Another defence lawyer was slightly wounded in the attack on their car in Baghdad, …

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Israel to continue killing activists

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s army chief told a parliamentary committee Tuesday that the military will keep up its deadly hunt for members of Islamic Jihad, despite threats by the Palestinian group to retaliate with suicide bombings. Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz told the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee that the …

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