- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2007

IRAN

Oil weapon not excluded

TEHRAN — Iran yesterday refused to rule out using oil supplies as a weapon in the standoff with the United States over its nuclear program, saying Washington never excluded attacks on the Islamic republic.

“When the Americans say that using the military option against Iran regarding its nuclear issue is not off the table, then Iran can say that it will not put aside the instrument of oil,” Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran’s representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said in an interview with the Shargh newspaper.

Asked where Iran’s “red line” on using oil as a weapon lay, he replied: “The red line lies where the Americans fail to say that using military means against Iran is illegal.”

ISRAEL

Russian planes sold to Syria

JERUSALEM — Israel is concerned about reported Russian deliveries of advanced MiG-31 fighter planes to its enemy Syria as part of an armaments drive, the top-selling Hebrew daily reported yesterday.

The MiG-31, considered one of the best fighters in the world, can carry guided missiles with a range of more than 125 miles and is capable of striking 24 targets simultaneously, Yediot Aharonot said.

A Russian newspaper reported yesterday that Russia has begun delivering five MiG-31E interceptors to Syria and that Moscow also plans to sell Damascus its MiG-29M/M2 dual-role fighters.

SAUDI ARABIA

Execution tally twice last year’s

RIYADH — A man was beheaded by sword yesterday for murdering a fellow Saudi, the Interior Ministry announced, adding to an execution tally already more than double that of 2006.

Falah bin Mikhlef al-Shimari was convicted of fatally shooting Jorayaan bin Fawaz al-Shimiri after an argument, the ministry said in a statement carried by the SPA state news agency. He was executed in the northern border town of Arar.

The beheading brings to 96 the number of executions announced by the Saudi government so far this year, the highest tally since 2000, when at least 113 persons were executed. Last year, at least 37 persons were executed.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Canadian faces prison over bad translation

OTTAWA — A Canadian counternarcotics official facing drug charges in Dubai fears he may be convicted and imprisoned for up to four years because of poor translating, according to Canadian press.

In a letter addressed “to whom it may concern” and printed in the Ottawa Citizen, Bert Tatham, 35, says his testimony was not translated properly at his trial.

“For example, my telling them about being exposed to drugs in my work … became, ‘I used drugs in Afghanistan,’ ” he writes.

“My lack of any knowledge of having hashish … became, ‘I forgot I put it in my pocket.’ ”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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