- - Tuesday, August 14, 2012

TUNIS — Tunisia’s new constitution will not be adopted before February, the head of the drafting committee said Tuesday after having announced that it would be delayed until April.

“I believe that in all reality there can be no final reading of the constitution before February 2013,” committee leader Habib Kheder, who is also a lawmaker and member of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, told Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM. “There can be no hastening.”

On Monday, Mr. Kheder said parliament would vote on the final draft of the national charter “at the end of April.”

The government previously insisted that it would meet an October deadline for ratifying the constitution in order to hold general elections in March.

Mr. Kheder has declined to comment on whether he now expects the elections to take place on schedule. He said Monday that it is “the responsibility of the government.”

IRAN

Defense minister dismisses threats from Israel

TEHRAN — Iran’s defense minister is dismissing Israeli threats against his country as psychological warfare.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency on Tuesday quoted Gen. Ahmad Vahidi as saying that Israeli leaders are resorting to “psychological war” against Iran.

Israel has not ruled out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The West suspects Iran is aiming to produce nuclear weapons. Iran denies that.

Gen. Vahidi warned that Israel is moving toward destruction of its “war machine” through its “warmongering” remarks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called Iran his country’s most dangerous threat, as the debate in Israel over whether to attack Iran gains strength.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmhmanparast told reporters Tuesday that Iran would not respond seriously to “baseless” remarks.

EGYPT

Egyptian forces clash with gunmen in Sinai

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