- - Tuesday, October 5, 2010

IRAN

Opposition leader seeks referendum on president

TEHRAN | Iran’s opposition leader says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s foreign policies are destructive and his performance as president should be judged in a referendum.

Mir Hossein Mousavi says the president’s actions on the world stage, such as a speech at the U.N. last month in which he questioned 9/11, have helped deepen Iran’s isolation.

The pro-reform politician, who ran against Mr. Ahmadinejad in last year’s election, says the president’s policies don’t represent the views of the Iranian people.

WEST BANK

Hamas fighter sentenced to 20 years in prison

RAMALLAH | The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has sentenced a Hamas fighter to 20 years in prison over a deadly 2009 shootout with Palestinian police, a court official said Tuesday.

The sentence infuriated Hamas and cast a shadow over plans to hold a second round of reconciliation talks in Syria with its Fatah rivals later this month.

Alaa Hisham Diab was sentenced by a military court on Sunday after having been arrested following a May 2009 battle in the West Bank town of Qalqilya that left three Palestinian security forces and two Hamas fighters dead.

IRAQ

U.S. corporate envoys view Iraq’s needs

BAGHDAD | With portfolios ranging from airliners to light bulbs, American corporate envoys heard Iraqi pitches for greater investments Tuesday on a trade mission brimming with hopes of future payoffs but confronting current realities such as lockdown-level security and a government in limbo.

Even before the first handshakes, executives from 14 firms — led by Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. — got a firsthand look at some of Iraq’s challenges in courting big-ticket foreign investment outside its lucrative oil fields.

The initial meetings — billed by Washington as the first official U.S. trade mission to Iraq in more than 30 years — were held in the tightly secured Green Zone. The Iraqi officials who met them, meanwhile, represent a government caught in a fight for survival.

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