- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 28, 2006

IRAN

Russia’s nuclear fuel offer countered

MOSCOW — Iran has proposed setting up a nuclear fuel production facility within its borders with international help, the Iranian Embassy here said yesterday, days before the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany meet to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program.

The new proposal is an alternative to Russia’s offer to host Iran’s nuclear fuel production as a way to ease concerns that enrichment conducted in Iran could be used to develop weapons. Iran insists its atomic program is for generating electricity.

Russia said its enrichment offer was contingent on Iran’s resumption of a moratorium on domestic enrichment, but the Iranians rejected that condition.

“In terms of satisfying its needs, Tehran cannot remain dependent on international suppliers,” the Iranian government said. “Iran would welcome the creation of an international nuclear fuel center on its territory with the participation of other countries and in the framework of an international consortium.”

ALGERIA

Officials check on 26 prisoners at Gitmo

ALGIERS — A group of Algerian officials has traveled to Guantanamo Bay to inspect the conditions under which 26 Algerians are being held as prisoners, the daily Al Watan newspaper reported yesterday.

One of the group members was quoted by the paper as saying that those detained complained of inhumane treatment. “They denounced detention conditions and an inhumane [prison] regime,” Al Watan quoted the team member as saying. About 490 foreign terror suspects are being held at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. Some have been there four years, but only a few have been charged with crimes.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said during a visit to Algiers in February that he intends to deepen military ties with Algeria and cooperate more on counterterrorism.

Weekly notes …

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told Agence France-Presse yesterday that Iranian agents are operating inside Iraq but that there was no proof that Tehran authorized the anti-government activities. “There are clearly Iranian intelligence agents operating inside Iraq, and Iranian-produced explosives have found their way across the border,” Gen. Abizaid said in Amman, Jordan. … Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lebanon and Syria are all likely to be on the agenda when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with French President Jacques Chirac tomorrow, the French Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The two also may discuss the situation in Belarus after the contested re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko and in Ukraine after the Sunday elections, said ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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