- - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

CAIRO — Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has sharply criticized Israel over its recent airstrikes, which killed seven Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The Islamist group said in a statement Tuesday that the Palestinian issue will always be a priority for Arabs and Muslims despite the nations’ mounting domestic issues.

It also called on governments in the region “to stop the Zionist war” that it accused Israeli leaders of pursuing for political points ahead of January elections in Israel.

The latest violence began Saturday, with Israeli airstrikes and rocket attacks from Gaza militants. The violence subsided Tuesday morning.

Also, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, expressed his “full support” Tuesday for Palestinian plans to seek nonmember observer status at the United Nations during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

IRAN

Iran postpones subsidy cuts

TEHRAN — An Iranian lawmaker said the country’s parliament has postponed the implementation of a second round of subsidy cuts until 2013 over fears of stoking already rampant inflation.

The head of the parliamentary budgetary and planning committee, Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, told the semiofficial Mehr news agency the second phase of the three-part plan likely would cause a 15 percent jump in the inflation rate, which is officially running at almost 25 percent.

Iran began cutting subsidies on energy and food in 2010. The second phase, which targeted gasoline subsidies, was to take effect in March 2012.

Parliament’s decision on Tuesday officially pushed back the second round of cuts to March 2013.

Iran has been under increasing economic sanctions by the West, which suspects Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

UAE tightens laws on online activism

DUBAI — The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday set stricter Internet monitoring and enforcement codes, which include giving authorities wider leeway to crack down on Web activists for offenses such as mocking the country’s rulers or calling for demonstrations.

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