- - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TEHRAN — Tehran has deployed one of its Russian-made submarines in the Persian Gulf, just days after the U.S. and more than two dozen of its allies began naval exercises nearby, Iranian state television reported Tuesday.

The Taregh-1 joined the Iranian fleet in the southern port of Bandar Abbas after it was overhauled, according to the TV report.

It is one of three Russian Kilo class submarines that Iran obtained in the early 1990s.

In May, Iran redeployed another Russian-made submarine after repairs.

The report also showed the launch of what was said to be the partially completed hull of a destroyer, the Sahand, which the TV report said is expected to be ready in the near future.

Both launches came under the command of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters. He said Iran has no intention of invading other countries.


Shiite clansmen charged with terrorist plots, abductions

BEIRUT — A military prosecutor in Lebanon has charged six members of a powerful Shiite Muslim clan with forming an armed group and kidnappings.

Members of the al-Mikdad clan recently took a Turkish businessman and more than 20 Syrians hostage in retaliation for the abduction of one of their family members inside Syria by rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

Turkey has been hosting Syrian rebels and refugees.

The state-run National News Agency said the prosecutor, Sakr Sakr, on Tuesday charged six members of the al-Mikdad family with plotting terrorist acts and kidnappings.

All six, including the clan’s spokesman, Maher al-Mikdad, are in Lebanese custody. If convicted, they could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

The hostages were freed last week in a raid by the Lebanese army.


10 Turkish soldiers killed in Kurdish rebel attack

DIYARBAKIR — Ten Turkish soldiers were killed and more than 70 wounded Tuesday in a rocket assault on their convoy in Turkey’s southeast, according to local security sources.

The convoy was on the highway in the southeastern province of Bingol when it was hit by Kurdish rebel rockets, sparking a fire that wounded 58 soldiers aboard an army bus. Dozens of wounded soldiers were being treated at nearby hospitals and the death toll may rise, according to the sources.

The Turkish army retaliated with an immediate operation backed by air power in the larger Bingol area to capture the members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party who staged the attack, the Anatolia news agency reported.


Syria ‘contact group’ OKs talks in New York

CAIRO — Foreign ministers of the regional “contact group” on Syria agreed in Cairo to hold more talks in New York this month, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported Tuesday.

The top diplomats of Egypt, Turkey and Iran met in Cairo on Monday to discuss conflict-stricken Syria, but Saudi Arabia, which is part of the group, was notably absent.

The ministers agreed to “hold their next meeting in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later this month,” MENA reported.

“It is too early to say we have come up with any specifics,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said afterward. “We exchanged views to reach a plan as soon as possible to end the bloodshed in Syria.”

The gathering of the “contact group” — an initiative of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi — follows preparatory talks a week ago in Cairo among lower-ranking officials from the countries’ foreign ministries.

The Egyptian leader, who is seeking an active role in resolving the crisis in Syria, also met separately with the foreign ministers of Iran and France on Tuesday, the presidency said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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