- - Monday, March 26, 2012

IRAN

Venue for nuclear talks remains unclear

VIENNA — Iran and six world powers have agreed to meet on April 13 for new talks about Tehran’s nuclear program, but the failure of previous meetings and disputes over what should be discussed are keeping them from choosing a venue, diplomats told the Associated Press on Monday.

Three diplomats from Western nations accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency said the starting date is set and they expect the dispute over the venue to be resolved in time.

The bickering over the location after days of talks appeared to reflect the deep differences between the two sides that have doomed previous meetings during which Iran has refused to even discuss international demands that it curb nuclear activities that could be used as part of a weapons program.

The main stumbling block remains uranium enrichment.

Iran says the expansion of its enrichment program is meant only to provide nuclear fuel, but the United States and other nations say Iran’s nuclear record is suspicious.

Tehran started enriching in secret and last year began enriching to higher levels that bring it closer to the point where it could turn its program into producing fissile warhead material at an underground bunker that could be impervious to attack from the air.

TUNISIA

Islam not to be basis of new constitution

TUNIS — A top official in the ruling Islamist Ennahda Party said Monday that Islamic law will not be enshrined in the country’s new constitution, preserving the North African nation’s civil state.

Tunisia has witnessed competing protests by thousands of secularists and Islamists recently over the role of Islamic law in the new constitution.

Ziad Doulatli of the Ennahda Party said the first article of the constitution would be as it was under the country’s secular dictators.

Islamists had wanted a line added saying that Shariah, Islamic law, would be the basis of the country’s legislation.

Many Muslim countries, including Egypt, stipulate a central role for Shariah.

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