World Briefs: Defense minister talks tough on Iran’s nuclear program

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JERUSALEM — Israel’s defense minister warned Monday that as long as Iran poses a threat to Israel with its nuclear program, all options are on the table, a reference to a possible Israeli attack.

Ehud Barak was speaking before the Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Israel and the West suspect Iran is trying obtain nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

Mr. Barak said: “I believe it is well understood in Washington, D.C., as well as in Jerusalem that as long as there is an existential threat to our people, all options to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons should remain on the table.”

Israel considers Iran a threat to its existence because of its nuclear and missile development programs, its leaders’ frequent reference to Israel’s destruction, and Iran’s support of violent anti-Israeli groups in Lebanon and Gaza.

BANGLADESH

Police charge 44 activists in bombings, vandalism

DHAKA — Police charged 44 opposition activists, including several senior leaders, with involvement in bombings and vandalism during an opposition-sponsored general strike that disrupted life across Bangladesh for a second day Monday.

The strike was called to protest the disappearance of an opposition official, Elias Ali, which his party blames on the government and security agencies.

The government denies involvement, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused the opposition of hiding Mr. Ali to create anarchy in the South Asian country.

YEMEN

U.N. envoy asks ex-president to stop meddling in state affairs

SANAA — The U.N. envoy to Yemen met Monday with the country’s former president to press him to stop meddling in the country’s affairs, diplomats said, a sign of continuing political instability that has emboldened al Qaeda.

The meeting between U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar and the former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, came after his son appointed a relative to head a new security unit, defying orders from the current president.

In February, Mr. Saleh handed power to his deputy, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in an internationally backed agreement.

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