- - Tuesday, January 4, 2011

IRAN

Memo: Hard-liners blocked nuke deal

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates | Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought some kind of nuclear fuel-swap deal more than a year ago but faced internal pressures from hard-liners who viewed it as a “virtual defeat,” according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The report also suggested that Iran trusted its archfoe the United States more than ally Russia to follow through with the U.N.-backed proposal: providing reactor-ready fuel in exchange for Iran giving up control of its low-enriched-uranium stockpile.

The assessment was given to a top U.S. envoy by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose nation has a growing friendship with Tehran and is scheduled to host the next round of nuclear talks this month between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S.

The fuel-swap proposal is a centerpiece of efforts for greater international controls on Iran’s nuclear program, which the West and others fear could lead to development of atomic weapons.

LEBANON

Palestinian official dies in Beirut

BEIRUT | The radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) says one of its founders, Ahmed Yamani, has died in Beirut after a stroke. He was 86.

Mr. Yamani, also known as Abu Maher Yamani, died Monday in a Beirut hospital.

The PFLP was launched by the late Palestinian leader George Habash in December 1967, six months after the Arabs lost the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights to Israel.

The PFLP is a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. It gained notoriety for the 1970 hijackings of four Western airliners over the United States, Europe, the Far East and the Persian Gulf. The aircraft were blown up in the Middle East after passengers and crews disembarked.

Mr. Yamani will be buried in Beirut on Wednesday.

IRAN

Afghans warn of crisis due to Iranian fuel ban

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