Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator delivered an unusually sharp rebuke to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies Wednesday, saying they are turning more nations against Iran and failing to fix the struggling economy.
The comments by Hasan Rowhani were the harshest yet against the president by a prominent figure in the Iranian leadership.
Speaking to the pro-reform Moderation and Development Party, he did not directly mention Ahmadinejad, but was clearly referring to his policies.
“On the international stage, we are under threat more than any other time,” Rowhani said. “The country’s diplomacy will be successful if it doesn’t allow the enemy to win the backing of other countries against us. Unfortunately, the number of our enemies are increasing. Up to yesterday, Britain stood by the U.S., but now France has joined the United States more closely.”
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Markets agree to trim prices
Leading supermarkets in Argentina agreed to trim prices temporarily by 5 percent on some basic foodstuffs Wednesday amid government pressure to keep inflation in check before national elections scheduled in less than three weeks.
Inflation has emerged as the most contentious campaign issue here and perhaps the only one that could derail the anticipated runaway triumph of first lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in the Oct. 28 presidential elections.
Polls show Fernandez leading a fragmented opposition by 20 to 30 points, largely based on Argentina’s brisk growth since her husband, Nestor Kirchner, became president four years ago.
Interrogation death reported
A Myanmar opposition party member died during interrogation and two activists were arrested as the ruling junta pressed its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement, an exile group said Wednesday.
The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners also said security officers had been threatening dissidents’ relatives and neighbors in an attempt to get information on the whereabouts of those involved in last month’s anti-government protests, which were brutally suppressed by the military.
The Myanmar exile group, made up of former political prisoners, said authorities had recently informed the family of Win Shwe, 42, that he had died during interrogation in the central region of Sagaing. He and five colleagues had been arrested Sept. 26, the first day of the crackdown.
The report could not be independently verified. But in the past, the group has provided detailed, accurate information on political prisoners in Myanmar.