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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hamas declines to recognize Israel

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 17:24:19 GMT | PressTV

Ismail Radwan, Hamas spokesman in Gaza
Hamas has rejected a US call to recognize Israel in exchange for Washington's recognition of the movement as a legitimate government.

"This is an unacceptable interference in the Palestinian affair," said Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan on Saturday. "Hamas will stay on its stance not to recognize Israel or the Quartet's conditions."

Radwan's remarks came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that Hamas must accept the Mideast Quartet conditions for a unified Palestinian ruling system.

The Quartet comprises of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

Hamas took power in a democratic election in 2006; at that time, however, the West announced that it would not deal with the movement until it recognized Israel and denounced "violence".

Somali leader accepts sharia law for truce

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 17:05:35 GMT

President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
Somalia President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has reportedly accepted a peace-proposal by religious clerics urging implementation of Sharia law.

"I met with religious leaders and elders and accepted their demand for ceasefire and reconciliation with the opposition members and I call on all opposition parties to halt the unnecessary violence," AFP quoted the president as saying on Saturday.

"The mediators asked me to introduce Islamic sharia in the country and I agreed," he added.

The announcement came as the country sinks further into a state of anarchy, with rebels steeping up attacks against the new unity-government, formed in January to provide Somalia with its first functioning government since 1991.

The proposal now awaits parliament ratification.

The religious leaders also met with Prime Minister Omar Adirashid Sharmarke earlier during mediation, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The chairman of the Somali Uluma Council, Sheikh Bashir Ahmed, announced that the possibility of introducing Sharia law in the Horn of Africa had been discussed with the premier.

At least 30 people were killed this week in anti-government attacks by the al Shebab militia and other militants.

The fighters demand the complete withdrawal of all foreign forces in Somalia and the imposition of Sharia law.

The president also said that the government had relocated to Mogadishu from neighboring Djibouti, which hosted United Nations-brokered talks that led to his election.

The new government, which comprises 36 ministers, began work on Saturday

Gaza police clad in plain clothes to avert Israeli attack

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 17:12:40
Yousef Al-Helou, Press TV, Gaza

Iran welcomes Palestine unity government

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 14:58:26 GMT | PressTV

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi says Tehran welcomes Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks.
Iran welcomes reconciliation talks between rival Palestinian factions aimed at establishing a unity government by the end of March.

"Iran always supports national unity and agreement between different political factions in Palestine. We call on Palestinians to remain united and guard the achievements of their resistance (against Israel)," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said Saturday.

"Discord will lead to the violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and will only serve the interests of Israel and its international allies," he added.

During the two-day Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo, the Hamas and Fatah movements agreed to form several committees that would pave the way for a unity government and pledged to continue negotiations and work toward the election of a new government.

The two long-time political rivals will pursue confidence-building measures in order to resolve the fate of prisoners detained by both sides and to halt the exchange of accusations.

Following Israel's three-week onslaught on the impoverished coastal sliver, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,300 Gazans -- mostly women and children --, Egypt managed to bring Fatah and Hamas to the negotiation table and restart the Palestinian unity talks.

Egypt had initially asked for the Palestinian reconciliation dialogue in November. Hamas, however, pulled out of the talks in protest at the continued detention of Hamas members in the West Bank by Fatah.

Qashqavi warned against Israel's "illegal approach" to demolish Palestinian homes, calling on regional and international bodies including the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the UNESCO and the United Nations to adopt a firmer stance toward Israeli actions.

Iraqis denounce arbitrary arrests by US forces

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 14:23:43
Wisam Al-Bayati, Press TV, Baghdad

Somali PM: reconciliation a top priority

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 23:41:20 GMT    |    PressTV

New Somali PM Omar Abdirashid Shermarke (2nd L) walks out of the airport in Mogadishu.
Somalia's new prime minister has said upon arrival at Mogadishu's Aden Adde airport that reconciliation and security are his top priorities.

Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake arrived from Djibouti with 53 lawmakers and ministers on Thursday and was met at the airport by government officials under tight security, a local Press TV correspondent reported.

Talking to reporters at the airport, Sharmake said that he was very happy to return home... "Our top priority is providing security," he said. This is his first trip to Somalia in nearly two decades.

Sharmake was appointed as prime minister two weeks ago by Somali President, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, and is the son of an elected president of Somalia who was assassinated in 1969.

Somalia's new UN-backed unity government was created in the neighboring Republic of Djibouti after the transitional government merged with an alliance of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), led by Sheikh Sharif.

Meanwhile, sporadic gunfire and explosions continued in parts of Mogadishu, but the worst fighting had largely subsided after two days of intense battles that killed over 35 people and wounded 130 others.  

Friday, February 27, 2009

Clinton faces Jewish backlash over Gaza

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 20:52:14 GMT | PressTV

US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following an Obama administration policy reversal has been hit with strong condemnation from her former New York Jewish supporters.

Clinton previously known as a strong proponent of the Zionist state has angered her former allies as she backs the new administration's Middle East policy that foresees a USD 900m reconstruction program for a devastated Gaza Strip, in contrast to the Bush administration's blatant pro-Israeli prejudice.

Clinton criticized Israel for putting barriers in place to obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza on the eve of her first visit to the region next week.

Senior US officials reportedly told their Israeli counterparts last week that "Israel is not making enough effort to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza". More criticism is expected from the US next week with Mideast special envoy George Mitchell's visit to Israel.

However, State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Brooklyn, told CBS, "I liked her a lot more as a senator from New York, now, I wonder as I used to wonder who the real Hilary Clinton is."

The Israeli people and politicians however, do not seem very concerned over the criticism made by Clinton and her officials, despite the outrage their New York counterparts displayed.

Defense department officials confirmed that the pressure is rising on Israel to reopen crossings that will allow larger volumes of aid in for the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.

At present, less than 200 aid trucks are allowed through each day, but the United Nations, the US and EU are demanding at least 500 daily truck runs into Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinian sources said that without a cease-fire agreement with Israel, America's plan for reconstruction aid to the Gaza Strip will not have any long-standing effect as Israel still refuses to allow basic construction materials into the area.

Somalia slams AMISOM over civilian deaths

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 19:41:35 GMT | PressTV

The recent attacks led to
the deaths of ne
fifty people
The Somali government has slammed the recent attacks by African Union forces on civilians, urging all foreign troops to leave the country.

Somalia's newly-formed government stated on Friday that it was saddened by the shelling of residential areas by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in Mogadishu.

"AMISOM actions are unacceptable. They were sent here to protect civilians, not to kill them," Suleiman Olad Rooble, the minister for youth and sports said in a news conference.

He also added that an urgent cabinet meeting will soon discuss the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Horn of African nation, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The statement follows three days of intense fighting in residential areas between rebels and AMISOM forces in Mogadishu, leading to the deaths of nearly fifty people -- mostly civilians -- and the injury of almost a hundred others.

The presence of the nearly 34,000 peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi has been a thorny issue for the new Somali government.

Influential clerics and Local clan elders have demanded the government to call for the withdrawal of the foreign force within 120 days. Somali opposition groups have meanwhile vowed to continue fighting the AMISOM troops until the peacekeepers are completely withdrawn from Somalia.

The new Somali government led by president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has repeatedly said that there would be no need for further foreign forces and those currently deployed would leave the country.

Gazans facing lack of materials to rebuild mosques

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 22:15:52
Yousef Al-Helou, Press TV, Gaza

Solana on unprecedented Gaza visit

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 17:42:13 GMT | PressTV

Solana (l) visits the ruin of a school in Beit Lahia
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has arrived in Gaza, becoming the first European official to visit the region since the Hamas takeover.

Solana, who came to the strip to see first hand the devastation caused by Israel's 23-day military offensive, said on Friday that his visit to the Palestinian territory was aimed at showing solidarity with the people of the war-ravaged enclave.

"I came to Gaza to see by myself the situation and the destruction and to show the solidarity to the good people of Gaza who have suffered so much," he said at a news conference.

After touring war sites in the coastal sliver, Solana also added that the European Union and the United States would attend an international donors' conference in Egypt next week, aimed at helping rebuild Gaza.

The war on Gaza led to the destruction of more than 4,100 homes, many schools, mosques, government buildings and even UN compounds, all of which Israel has the responsibility to protect under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It is estimated that the reconstruction of Gaza would cost about USD 2.8 billion. The European Commission has announced it would donate EUR 436m (USD 553m) in aid to the conflict-torn Gaza Strip.

Solana, also, voiced support for a Palestinian unity deal reached between rival Palestinian factions -- Fatah and Hamas -- in Cairo on Thursday, but added that the bloc's final position could only be determined after both sides reach a deal.

According to the agreement, the long-time rivals -- whose feud boiled over in 2007 when Hamas seized power in Gaza, after the movement was deposed despite wining the 2006 elections -- are to form a unity government by the end of March.

The deal could lead to the subsequent lifting of the 19-month-long Israeli blockade on the impoverished region.

Displaced Iraqis living in squalid conditions years after invasion

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 16:32:39
Wisam Al-Bayati, Press TV, Baghdad

Palestinians protest Israeli plans to demolish 88 homes

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 16:04:30
Shireen Yassin, Press TV, Al-Quds

Livni says no to Netanyahu-led government

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 12:56:17 GMT | PressTV

Presumptive Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has announced that her Kadima party would not join Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.

"The meeting concluded without agreement on key issues," Livni said after talks with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Friday. "We will be a responsible opposition."

The closed door talks were the second between the two leaders since Netanyahu was ordered on February 20 by President Shimon Peres to name a cabinet.

"I have done everything possible to achieve unity ... but to my great regret, I faced categorical rejection from Mrs Livni," the Likud leader said after the 90-minute meeting.

Although Kadima and Labor turned down Netanyahu's appeal, he can still clinch to premiership by forming a right-wing coalition government.

Livni said before the meeting that the Likud leader "does not believe in the peace process and is a prisoner of the right-wing's traditional vision," and that his government would block any peace deal with the Palestinians.

"Under these circumstances the best option is to serve the people from the opposition benches," she said.

Despite wining only 27 seats - one seat shy of Kadima -in the Knesset (Israeli parliament), Likud was mandated to form the next cabinet.

Peres decided that Netanyahu stands a better chance of patching together a coalition by an early April deadline, given that Livini once failed to form a coalition government late last year.

This is while a recent poll has revealed that most people believe the Israeli prime minister designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, will not succeed in forming a government.

The failure of his talks with Livni is expected to raise concerns over negotiations with the Palestinians, as the right-wing leader once halted the peace process as Israel's prime minister by authorizing an expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Turkey to US: Engage Hamas in talks

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 10:12:16 GMT | PressTV

US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell meets Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) in Ankara
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the US should engage Hamas if progress is to be made on peace in the Middle East.

"Even though we do not approve Hamas' methods, Hamas should not be excluded from the peace process," said Erdogan who has been a fierce critic of Israeli policies against the Palestinian resistance movement.

Hamas “should be integrated into the political system and the peace process,” he added.

The Turkish premier made the remarks while meeting with the newly appointed US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, on Thursday.

The US envoy, for his part, declared that Turkey will play a "key role" to achieve peace in the Middle East region.

"Turkey is a crucial ally of the United States and an important force for peace and security in the Middle East," Mitchell told reporters after the meeting.

Mitchell is currently in Ankara as part of a regional tour that will also take him to Israel and the West Bank.

On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that talking to Hamas was the "right thing to do".

The democratically-elected Hamas government, sacked by Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas, has been excluded from the US-mediated peace talks between Palestinians and Israel.

Hamas says excluding the legal government, elected by a majority of votes, from the peace process does not create a positive atmosphere to achieve success in the talks.

In his most recent criticism of the Israeli 23-day war on the Gaza Strip Erdogan said Israel had committed "crimes against humanity" in the blockaded strip.

In January, Erdogan walked off the stage at a Davos summit after he was repeatedly interrupted for criticizing Tel Aviv and Peres over the mass killing of Palestinians during the 23-day war on Gaza.

At least 1330 Palestinians were killed during Israel's Operation Cast Lead, while thousands of others, many of them women and children, remained hospitalized.

Palestinians agree on forming five committees for inter- reconciliation

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 01:34:08
Heba Fahmy, Press TV, Cairo

US repeating old Iran lies at UN

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 22:41:11 GMT | PressTV

Mohammad Khazaee said the new US envoy was making the same accusations against Iran as the Bush administration.
Iran's UN envoy has criticized the new US ambassador, who accused Tehran of supporting terrorism and attempting to develop nuclear weapons.

In a speech to the UN Security Council during a session on Iraq, Susan Rice said once the US withdraws its troops from Iraq, it would 'seek an end to Iran's ambitions to acquire an illicit nuclear capacity, and its support for terrorism'.

Iran's UN envoy, Mohammad Khazaee, said Rice's remarks were a repetition of the same 'groundless accusations' against Iran that the previous US administration had made.

"It is unfortunate that, yet again, we are hearing the same tired, unwarranted and groundless allegations that used to be unjustifiably and futilely repeated by the previous US administration," Khazaee said in a letter to the council's president, Japanese Ambassador, Yukio Takasu.

"Instead of raising allegations against others, the United States had better take concrete and meaningful steps in correcting its past wrong policies and practices vis-à-vis other nations, including the Islamic Republic of Iran," Khazaee added.

Khazaee said that Iran's nuclear program 'has been, is, and will remain, absolutely peaceful and Iran has never tried nor will ever try to acquire nuclear weapons'.

Iran announced on Wednesday that it has launched the test-stage of its first nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr and that the nuclear facility had entered its preliminary phase operation.

Rice's comments come a day after the US State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, said the test did not cross the boundaries of peaceful nuclear technology as fuel arrangements for the nuclear facility were made with Russia.

Iran's UN envoy said Tehran was a victim of terrorism and Rice's charge of Iran's support of terrorism was 'equally baseless and absurd'.

Rice also said that Washington would urge Iran and Syria to become 'constructive regional actors' and the US will deepen ties in the region to pursue a 'broad and sustained peace'.

Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic ties since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

US President, Barack Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton have vowed to begin direct talks with Iran to thaw relations between the two countries and resolve Iran's nuclear issue.

Tehran has maintained that it is open to fair talks while demanding fundamental changes in US policy.

From Mujahideen heroes to Taliban terrorists

By: Kian Mokhtari

The Areas on both sides of the modern Afghan border, beginning in Bajaur and traveling south west all the way to Baluchistan have been home to a group of fiercely independent, closely interlinked, formidable warriors for thousands of years.

The region -much reduced by the 19th century- was an independent tribal territory until 1893 and remained outside the British Empire, with frequent skirmishes a trademark in relations between the Waziri tribesmen and British rule.

Surviving historic documents and written accounts from Iran's Achaemenid Empire of 2500 years ago indicate that even then there were troubles on Eranshahr's (Persian Empire) borders with tribes that closely fit the modern-day description of the region's peoples. Around one thousand years later during Iran's Sassanid Dynasty rule, Eranshar's top warrior princes, fell prey to a major trap set by the same tribes, greatly bereaving the Royal Household.

In more recent times Waziri tribes fought alongside the Pashtun Mujahideen against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan in the 1980s. After the Taliban rule was formed in Afghanistan, Waziri fighting men went back to their old way of life in the north and south Wazirestan districts situated in modern-day Pakistan.

The Afghan Mujahideen branch loyal to the Northern Alliance of late Ahmad Shah Massoud (the Lion of Panjshir) later fell out with the southern Pashtun tribes and valiantly fought their Taliban rule. Ahmad Shah Massoud was himself assassinated by two Taliban operatives posing as the press prior to the 9/11 events.

But let us not miss the point here that the same fighting men hailed as Mujahideen heroes in the 1980s went to terrorist zeros a mere eleven years later and were bombed mercilessly accused of involvement in the terrorist atrocities in New York and Washington.

However where does the Taliban end and ethnic Waziri tribes begin in the current US hi-tech slaughter in the Wazirestan regions?
We are told day after day about the US military pilot less drone strikes that often result in the deaths of civilians in Wazirestan. The daily toll is immidiately justified by Western media reports that the Taliban terrorists are being hunted down and weeded out by the US strikes.

The news from on the ground in Wazirestan tells a totally different story however. The news speak of a war of extermination being carried out by the US against ethnically unique Waziri tribes; that a whole way of life present for thousands of years is being stamped out under the pretext of the so-called war against terror. And that tribes -totally unrelated to the Taliban politics or actions- deemed unsuited to the Western world's grand plans in the region are being snuffed out.

Independent sources speak of entire villages and towns laid waste by the US-led strikes, and thousands of Waziri refugees on the move as a new Diaspora forms due to yet more indiscriminate Western military action.

There maybe no love lost for the Taliban anywhere in the world but the distinctions have to be made. Waziri tribes cannot be wiped out simply because of a geographic misfortune. And Waziri tribesmen fighting for their survival against the US super hi-tech onslaught cannot be dubbed Taliban terrorists and have their women and children slaughtered indiscriminately.

Press TV reports that chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein, says the unmanned US air force drones operating in Pakistan are flown from an air base inside the country. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has declined to comment, but former US intelligence officials speaking on condition of anonymity, have confirmed that Feinstein's account is accurate.

The drone raids were generally believed to be conducted from airbases inside Afghanistan prior to the latest revelations.
Questions should be asked about the level of Pakistani government complicity in the carnage currently unfolding in Wazirestan. Because it appears as if the region and its ethnic people are being treated by Islamabad as tribal inconveniences outside the country's sovereign jurisdiction. Why else would Islamabad attempt to cover up US air strikes against Waziri tribes from bases inside Pakistan?

Sun, 15 Feb 2009 13:46:59 GMT | PressTV

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Iran nuclear plant test run scares Israel

Thu 26 Feb 2009 19:24:56 GMT | PressTV

Iran started tests at its first nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr on Wednesday.
The Israeli premier Ehud Olmert sends out a warning signal to Iran after the country began a test run of its first nuclear power plant.

"We are a strong country, a very strong country, and we have at our disposal (military) capacities the intensity of which are difficult to imagine," Olmert told public radio on Thursday.

"We have deployed enormous efforts to reinforce our deterrence capacity," Olmert added. "Israel will be able to defend itself in all situations, against all threats, against all enemies. I cannot say more but believe me, I know what I'm talking about."

The remarks came after Iran announced Wednesday that despite intense international pressure over the country's nuclear program it has launched the test-stage of its first nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr.

The United States and Israel and their allies accuse Iran of having a covert nuclear weapons program. Iran contends that it only seeks to produce nuclear energy and its program is civilian in nature.

Israel -- which is the sole possessor of a nuclear warhead in the Middle East -- considers Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat to its security and has repeatedly threatened to militarily take out Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the hawk set to form the next Israeli government, said earlier that Iran is the top challenge facing Israel.

"Iran is seeking to arm itself with nuclear weapons and is the most serious threat to our existence since the war of independence" in 1948, Netanyahu said.

A senior adviser to the Israeli hawk, Dore Gold, told Reuters on Wednesday that Netanyahu would make Iran's nuclear program his "highest priority."

The remarks give rise to widespread speculation about the possibility of an Israeli military action against Iran.

While Israel continues to label Iran's nuclear program as a threat, the UN nuclear watchdog confirms that Iran has only managed to enrich uranium-235 to a level "less than 5 percent."

Uranium, the fuel for a nuclear power plant, can serve in military purposes if enriched to high levels. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

Earlier on Wednesday -- the first day of the Bushehr plant's test run -- head of the Rosatom State Atomic Corporation Sergei Kiriyenko addressed Western concerns about Iran's recent nuclear achievement.

"We believe that the structure in the Bushehr plant itself is in total conformity with the Non-Proliferation," the Russian official said.

He added that Russia's cooperation in building the Bushehr plant removes every doubt about Iran's nuclear intentions, as the whole project is transparent in its entirety.

"Those who think this project can be used for the proliferation of nuclear weapons can come here and see for themselves."

Palestinians to form unity government

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 19:13:47 GMT | PressTV

Reconciliation talks in Cairo lead to an agreement between rival Palestinian factions to establish a unity government by the end of March.

The factions agreed to form several committees that will pave the way for a unity government, an official with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Jamil al-Majdalawi, told AFP on Thursday.

"The committees will end their work and a Palestinian unity government will be formed by the end of March," he said.

The revelation was confirmed by deputy leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Mohammed al-Hindi.

A Palestinian national dialogue opened in Cairo on Thursday under Egyptian auspices with hopes that a dozen Palestinian groups can agree on a new government and reunite the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Fatah and Hamas agreed to pursue confidence-building measures in order to resolve the fate of prisoners captured by both sides and to halt the exchange of accusations between the two.

Fatah and Hamas have long been rivals but their feud boiled over in 2007 when Hamas fighters took control of the Gaza Strip.

Egypt had initially asked for the Palestinian reconciliation dialogue in November. Hamas, however, pulled out of the talks at the fateful moment in protest at Fatah's continued detentions of Hamas members in the West Bank.

The Palestinian unity negotiations were relaunched by Egypt following the recent Israeli onslaught on the impoverished coastal sliver of Gaza.

Over 1,300 Gazans -- mostly women and children -- were killed during the military operations launched on December 27. Buildings along with the infrastructure were also devastated.

Somali parliament to mark fresh start

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 19:25:46 GMT | PressTV

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed may order the new parliament to be formed in the capital, Mogadishu.
Somali lawmakers return to the country from Djibouti with many hopes pinned on the statesmen to move along a trouble-free political course.

Over the last two days, the bulk of the 550-member parliament have arrived in the capital Mogadishu after the make-up of the body was determined during UN-sponsored talks in Djibouti, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The talks also saw former opposition chief Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed appointed as the new president of Somalia.

The lawmakers are part of the National Unity Government that will replace the moribund Transitional Federal Government.

In a move seen as an attempt by Sharif to avoid the mistakes of the TFG, the new president has allowed the opposition to have a considerable say in the new government. The opposition accused the former leadership of the country of being loyal to the West.

As part of an armed campaign against the TFG, opposition fighters recently captured the city of Baidoa, which is the seat of the parliament.

The arrival of the lawmakers is said to be in line with plans to relocate the new government to Mogadishu in efforts to establish stability in the Horn of Africa.

Analysts: Iran-Russia ties to expand after power plant completion

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 19:02:27
Svetlana Korkina, Press TV, Moscow

EU 'studies new tough Iran sanctions'

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 17:13:13 GMT | PressTV

Britain, France and Germany are reportedly proposing a tough list of new sanctions to be imposed against Iran over its nuclear program.

A report by the Financial Times claims that the EU trio is targeting 34 Iranian entities and 10 individuals who are believed to be connected with the country's disputed nuclear program.

The UN Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions against Iran, urging the country to halt its enrichment activities.

The UN nuclear watchdog, while requesting more cooperation from Tehran, said in its latest report on Iran's nuclear program that there has been no diversion of "declared nuclear material in Iran."

Iran, however, is accused by the US, Israel and their European allies -- Britain, France and Germany -- of pursuing a military nuclear program. Officials in Tehran contend the only objective of the disputed program is the civilian applications of the technology.

According to the report, the commander and deputy head of volunteer Basij forces, Sharif University, Iran Insurance Company, Iran Air Cargo, Iran Space Agency and Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute are among the entities on the list.

Iran's Bank Tejarat is also on the EU's new list of sanctions. Iranian commercial banks including Melli, Saderat, Sepah and Mellat are already under sanctions over the country's nuclear program.

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