- - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

EGYPT

Military warns protesters against violence

CAIROEgypt’s military rulers sternly warned protesters Tuesday against “harming public interests” as demonstrators continued to lay siege to Cairo’s largest government building and threatened to expand their sit-in to other sites in the capital.

The military also rejected criticism of its handling of Egypt’s transition to democratic rule, vowing not to give up its interim role in managing the country’s affairs until an elected government takes over.

It also pledged to produce binding regulations for the selection of a constituent assembly that will draft a new constitution, allaying fears by many Egyptians that Islamists — likely to dominate parliamentary elections due in September — would elect an assembly that would give the document an Islamic slant.

IRAN

Iran offers IAEA cooperation but sets condition

VIENNAIran’s foreign minister said Tuesday his country is ready to cooperate more closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but only if it cancels its probe into allegations that Tehran has worked secretly on a nuclear weapons program — a condition rejected by the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

The agency already has accused Iran of stalling the investigation, and that has become a major source of international tension over Iran’s nuclear program.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran is ready to work “closer than ever before” with the U.N. nuclear agency if it first ends the investigation.

SYRIA

Syria says Clinton comments are ‘provocation’

BEIRUT — Syria accused Washington of provocation Tuesday after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said President Bashar Assad had lost legitimacy and was “not indispensable.”

Both the U.S. and France strongly criticized Syria after pro-government mobs attacked the American and French embassies in Damascus on Monday, smashing windows and spray-painting obscenities and graffiti on the walls.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned Mrs. Clinton’s statement as “a provocative reaction.”

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