- - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

IRAN

VIENNA — A senior U.N. team is embarking on a new attempt to restart its probe into suspicions that Iran secretly worked on nuclear arms.

The International Atomic Energy Agency team left Tuesday for Tehran and meeting with senior officials there.

Team leader Herman Nackaerts said the IAEA hopes to “finalize the structured approach” that would outline what the agency can and cannot do in its investigation. Mr. Nackaerts spoke before his team’s departure.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has tried for more than a year to restart its stalled investigations into allegations that Iran worked on developing nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies any such activity and insists that any new agency investigation must be governed by an agreement that lays out the scope of such a probe.

IRAQ

Sunni lawmaker killed in suicide bombing

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber assassinated a Sunni lawmaker in western Iraq on Tuesday, raising tensions in a part of the country that has been roiled by weeks of demonstrations.

While it was unclear who carried out the attack, the killing is likely to further strain relations between the central government and minority Sunnis who have been demanding reforms to policies they believe unfairly target their sect.

The governor of Anbar province, Qassim al-Fahdawi, said lawmaker Ifan Saadoun was killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the restive city of Fallujah.

The attack comes two days after a convoy carrying Iraq’s Sunni finance minister, Rafia al-Issawi, was struck by a bomb as he traveled to the city. He was not injured. Mr. al-Issawi hails from the same tribe and is from the same political bloc as Mr. Saadoun.

TURKEY

Report: Turkish jets target Kurdish rebels in Iraq

ANKARA — Turkish jets struck suspected Kurdish rebel targets in a cross-border raid in northern Iraq, Turkish and Kurdish media reported Tuesday, even as Turkey started peace talks with the rebels’ imprisoned leader.

The private Dogan news agency, citing unnamed sources, said four F-16 jets late Monday fired at 12 targets of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party on Mount Qandil, on the Iraqi-Iranian border. It did not report any casualties.

There was no official confirmation of the raid, which also was reported by Firat news, a website close to the rebels.

JORDAN

Islamists to step up campaign against elections, reform

AMMAN — Jordan’s powerful Islamists warned Tuesday that they will step up their campaign against next week’s parliamentary elections and against reforms pursued by King Abdullah II.

The Jan. 23 vote could set the stage for a showdown between King Abdullah and the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

The group leads a fractured opposition in Jordan that includes liberal youth activists, trade unionists, Arab nationalists and communists.

Traditionally, the Brotherhood has been loyal to Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty, which claims ancestry to the Prophet Muhammad. Brotherhood leaders have joined Cabinets in the past and held top government positions.

The Brotherhood also has been a licensed political party for decades in Jordan, unlike other Mideast nations where the Brotherhood had been banned or suppressed before last year’s Arab Spring revolts.

But recently, the fundamentalist group has been eager to gain more power in the kingdom, having seen its peers now ruling in Egypt and Tunisia.

WEST BANK

Palestinians: Israeli military killed teenage protester

RAMALLAH — The Israeli military shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian near the West Bank separation barrier on Tuesday, Palestinians said.

The Israeli military said he had breached the barrier, which separated soldiers from protesters.

A classmate said a group of students threw rocks at soldiers near the barrier, a line of walls, trenches and fences Israel has built along and inside the West Bank. Muataz Awad said soldiers opened fire, killing Samir Awad from the village of Boudrous.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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