- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2005

IRAN

Lawmakers boost government’s hand

TEHRAN — Raising the stakes before a key vote by the U.N. nuclear agency, lawmakers approved a bill yesterday requiring the government to block inspections of atomic facilities if the agency refers Iran to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

The bill was favored by 183 of the 197 lawmakers present. The session was broadcast live on state-run radio four days before the International Atomic Energy Agency board considers referring Tehran to the Security Council for violating a nuclear arms control treaty.

The bill is intended to strengthen the government’s hand in resisting international pressure to permanently abandon uranium enrichment.

IRAQ

Saddam’s attorneys ease boycott threat

AMMAN, Jordan — Lawyers defending Saddam Hussein and his aides are willing to attend next week’s trial hearing, despite threats to their lives, if the government provides them with proper protection, the team’s leader said yesterday.

Khalil Dulaimi announced earlier this month that the defense team was suspending all contacts with the court after the killing of two of its members.

Yesterday, he said by telephone, “We are prepared to attend the trial if our demands to secure proper protection are met,” and accused the prosecution of maneuvering to appoint its own defense attorneys.

MOROCCO

Forces arrest al Qaeda suspects

RABAT — Security forces have arrested 17 radical Islamists on suspicion of belonging to a “terrorist structure” linked to al Qaeda, state news agency Maghreb Arab Presse said yesterday, quoting a police source.

“The 17 members involved in this project have been arrested and will face prosecution,” the agency said.

Morocco has been on high security alert since 2003 when suicide bombings killed 45 persons in Casablanca, the country’s financial capital.

ZIMBABWE

Mugabe announces nuclear power plans

HARARE — Zimbabwe has discovered uranium but intends to mine the commodity only to generate electricity, not for use in making nuclear weapons, President Robert Mugabe said in remarks broadcast yesterday.

“We have found uranium, which is used to make electricity [and] the bombs that you hear about. … But when we mine it we would not want it to be used in bomb making. … We would use it to give us electricity,” Mr. Mugabe said on state television.

Zimbabwe imports 35 percent of its electricity from South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to augment domestic supplies, but has battled to pay for imports in recent years as a result of biting foreign currency shortages.

HONDURAS

Gamma weakens after killing 12

TEGUCIGALPA — Tropical Storm Gamma weakened into a tropical depression yesterday and drifted off Honduras after torrential downpours lashed the Central American coast, killing 12 persons, including a young family of four.

Gamma, the 24th named storm of a record-breaking hurricane season, was expected to bring steady rain to northern Honduras and central Cuba as it becomes less organized, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Gamma’s maximum sustained winds decreased to 35 mph, below the 39 mph to be considered a tropical storm, the hurricane center said. Its center was located about 85 miles north of the Honduran city of Limon and it was meandering north.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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