- - Thursday, June 28, 2012

BAGHDAD — Bombings and shootings around Iraq killed 22 people and wounded more than 50 on Thursday, authorities said, as a spike in violence made June Iraq’s bloodiest month in almost a half a year.

The attacks in Shiite neighborhoods and on security forces underscore how deadly Iraq remains, even though violence has dropped dramatically since a few years ago when the country appeared about to descend into civil war.

Thursday’s deadliest strike came around 9:30 a.m. in the Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Washash in western Baghdad, where eyewitnesses said a taxi exploded outside a local market. Eight people died and 26 were injured, police and hospital officials said.


Uzbekistan quits Russian security pact

MOSCOW — Uzbekistan has suspended its participation in a Russia-dominated security pact of ex-Soviet nations, officials said Thursday, a move that reflects tensions inside the grouping.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization’s spokesman, Vladimir Zainetdinov, said Thursday that it received a note from Uzbekistan declaring the suspension of its involvement in the seven-nation alliance.

Mr. Zainetdinov wouldn’t comment on possible motives behind the move, and Uzbek officials couldn’t be reached for comment. The grouping includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Russia has touted the organization as an ex-Soviet response to NATO, but the pact has remained amorphous and weakened by differences among its members. The pact members created a joint rapid reaction force that held sporadic maneuvers, but its numbers were small and its mission unclear. Uzbekistan has refrained from contributing its troops to the force in an apparent reluctance to give Russia too much clout.


Tehran and London agree to representation

TEHRAN — Iran has agreed with Britain to have other countries’ embassies represent the two nations in each other’s capitals, Iranian state media reported on Thursday.

British officials were unable to confirm the report.

Both countries shut down their diplomatic missions last year over Britain’s prominent participation in efforts by the West to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.

Iranian hard-liners stormed the British Embassy in Tehran in November, and Iranian lawmakers voted to downgrade relations to the level of charge d’affaires from ambassador level.

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