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Draft Iran measure clarifies sanctions

Tue., Dec. 12, 2006

A retooled draft resolution on Iran’s nuclear program presented to the U.N. Security Council on Monday includes the names of top Iranian officials and organizations that would be targeted by proposed sanctions.

U.N. ambassadors said negotiators wanted to move swiftly on the draft, which would punish Iran for refusing international demands to suspend uranium enrichment and urge it to continue negotiations over its nuclear program. They said they anticipate a Security Council vote before the end of the year.

The organizations that would be targeted by sanctions include the country’s atomic energy agency, as well as companies involved in Iran’s centrifuge program, its pilot uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and the research reactor being built in the city of Arak.

The draft resolution, which was circulated to Security Council members Friday, had been revised by France, Britain and Germany to try to satisfy Russia – an Iran ally and veto-wielding member of the Security Council.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Monday he was pleased with the direction of the talks, though specific points still needed to be worked out.


Poison detected in four in Germany

Police said four people in Germany were hospitalized Monday after showing signs that they may be contaminated by polonium-210, the poison that killed former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko. All four are connected to Dmitry Kovtun, a Russian businessman who met Litvinenko in London the day he became ill.

German police said they are investigating Kovtun, 41, on suspicion that he illegally handled a radioactive substance. They said he left a radioactive trail in Germany, after arriving there from Moscow on Oct. 28 and before flying to London on Nov. 1, the day Litvinenko began feeling sick.

According to Russian news reports, Kovtun is now apparently ill in a Russian hospital.

Kovtun’s 31-year-old former wife, her 27-year-old boyfriend and her two children, ages 1 and 3, were sent to a Hamburg hospital Monday for further tests on “suspicion” of being contaminated, Hamburg police said.

ALGIERS, Algeria

Group calls attack ‘gift’ to Muslims

An insurgency group that has aligned itself with al-Qaida claimed responsibility Monday for a deadly attack on employees of an affiliate of the U.S. company Halliburton, saying it was a “gift to all Muslims.”

Assailants hurled a bomb and shot at two vehicles transporting employees Sunday evening in the town of Bouchaoui, nine miles west of Algiers. The Interior Ministry said the Algerian driver of one bus was killed and nine other people were hurt, including an American, four Britons, a Canadian, a Lebanese and another Algerian.

It was the first time in recent memory that Americans have been targeted in Algeria.

The Salafist Group for Call and Combat claimed responsibility for the attack. The group is considered the only well-organized insurgency movement still operating in Algeria and has threatened to target foreign interests.


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