- The Washington Times - Friday, May 28, 2004

ISRAEL

Whistleblower freed from prison

JERUSALEM — A British journalist said Israel held him in a “dungeon with excrement on the walls” before releasing him yesterday, a day after he was arrested over contacts with nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.

“They accused me of spying on nuclear secrets and aggravated espionage. It is laughable,” Peter Hounam told reporters as he walked out of a detention center in Jerusalem.

Mr. Hounam, who broke Vanunu’s account of Israeli atomic weapons in 1986 in Britain’s Sunday Times, was arrested Wednesday in connection with a television interview that is yet to be broadcast.

Mr. Hounam’s 1986 interview with Vanunu, a former technician at the Dimona reactor, led independent analysts to conclude that the Jewish state had stockpiled hundreds of nuclear weapons, making it one of the world’s top atomic powers.

IRAN

New threats made to enrich uranium

TEHRAN — Iran warned the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog yesterday that it might resume uranium enrichment and halt snap inspections of its nuclear sites if the body did not recognize Tehran’s cooperation at a board meeting next month.

“We suspended [uranium] enrichment voluntarily, we implemented the Additional Protocol [on snap inspections] voluntarily, so we can stop that at any time,” said President Mohammed Khatami.

Under intense international pressure after revelations that it had engaged in an 18-year cover-up of sensitive nuclear research, Iran agreed last year to halt uranium enrichment, which can be used to make bomb-grade material.

LEBANON

Police-protester clash over strike kills 5

BEIRUT — At least five persons were killed and many wounded after soldiers opened fire in a poor Beirut suburb yesterday during protests against soaring fuel prices that brought Lebanon to a near standstill.

Riots spread across several parts of the city, as people vented their anger at the high cost of living and the government’s economic policies by burning tires and throwing stones at soldiers trying to control the crowds.

PAKISTAN

Officers arrested for killing attempts

ISLAMABAD — President Pervez Musharraf said yesterday that junior army and air force personnel were among those arrested in connection with two assassination attempts against him in December and will be tried in a military court.

It was the first official confirmation that anyone from the military had been implicated in the attacks. Pakistani authorities had said only that members of Islamic militant groups had been arrested, giving few details.

CUBA

Mexico to send envoy to Havana

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Cuba’s foreign minister said his nation and Mexico agreed yesterday to return their respective ambassadors, moving to ease the latest diplomatic dispute between the traditional allies.

At a press conference on the sidelines of an international summit here, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said he met with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez and that they had decided to restore the ambassadors to their posts. He did not give an exact date for their return.

Mexico has been Cuba’s strongest ally in the region historically. But relations have become strained under President Vicente Fox, whose administration has criticized Cuba’s human rights record.

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