Los Angeles Times: President Bush and his closest foreign policy advisers convene Thursday to grapple with an important shift in U.S. policy toward Iran: how best to support a European diplomatic initiative to prevent the Middle East nation from becoming a nuclear weapons state. The discussions follow a working lunch Wednesday at the White House that included Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during which the Europeans' strategy to offer economic incentives was discussed, according to administration officials.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Mar. 02 At least 54 Iranian girls and young women, between the ages of 16 and 25, are sold on the streets of Karachi in Pakistan on a daily basis, according to report outlining the latest statistics. The report also revealed that there are at present at least 300,000 runaway girls in Iran, adding that the estimated number of women under the absolute poverty line was more than eight million.
AFP: There are "an alarming number of unresolved questions about Iran's nuclear program," which the United States claims hides atomic weapons development, US ambassador Jackie Sanders told the UN atomic agency Wednesday. Sanders said Iran had continued to deny UN inspectors "the transparency and cooperation they need to perform their duties" and that Tehran was "cynically" manipulating "the nuclear nonproliferation regime in the pursuit of nuclear weapons."
Bloomberg: The U.S criticized the United Nations nuclear watchdog today over its ability to assure the world that Iran is using atomic technology for peaceful means. "The IAEA is still not able to provide assurances that Iran is not pursuing clandestine activities at undeclared locations as it has been doing for years," U.S. Ambassador Jackie Sanders said today in a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency's ...
AFP: The head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards has warned that 190,000 US troops stationed close to the Islamic republic could be targetted if Iran were attacked, a report said Wednesday.
"More than 190,000 members of American forces are scattered in Afghanistan and Iraq. If the US carries out its threats against Iran, they nust know that all these forces will be within our reach," Yahya Rahim Safavi told the ultra-hardline Ya Lessarat newspaper.
AFP: Iran must come clean on nuclear questions, UN atomic agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Wednesday. ElBaradei, whose International Atomic Energy Agency is investigating Iran for possible nuclear weapons work, said Tehran must carry out "transparency" measures that allow widespread visits by IAEA inspectors beyond what is required under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Reuters: France, Britain and Germany, who are spearheading atomic talks with Iran, criticised Tehran on Wednesday for not keeping its pledge to suspend all sensitive parts of its nuclear programme that could be used in bomb-making. In a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors, the trio cited Iran's pledge to suspend activities linked to uranium enrichment, and said Tehran's recent cleaning and quality control work on nuclear equipment parts was "of serious concern".
New York Sun: Two leading Republican members of Congress are urging the White House to refrain from joining European negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. In an interview yesterday with The New York Sun, Senator Santorum, a Republican of Pennsylvania who is his party's third-ranking senator, said he did not like the idea of the negotiations.
Reuters: The United States said on Wednesday the U.N. nuclear watchdog has a "statutory obligation" to refer Iranian breaches of its non-proliferation obligations to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic sanctions.
The Wall Street Journal: Iran won't allow United Nations inspectors to revisit a military base where U.S. officials suspect it might have tested high-explosive components for a nuclear weapon, opening a new source of tension between the Bush administration and Tehran over its possible nuclear ambitions.
Reuters: European officials have said they expect a quick U.S. decision -- within days or weeks -- on whether to support incentives for Iran to give up its suspected nuclear weapons programme. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raised the issue on the sidelines of a Middle East conference and a senior U.S. official expected her to do so at a dinner Tuesday ...
New York Times: The United Nations nuclear watchdog listed today several instances where Iran has blocked investigation of its nuclear development program or failed to provide information sought by the agency.
Voice of America: The general who commands all U.S. military operations in the Middle East has accused Iran and Syria of continuing to contribute to the problems in Iraq by facilitating the insurgency and meddling in Iraqi politics. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General John Abizaid said Iran and Syria have both been "unhelpful" in Iraq, contributing to the country's instability.
AFP: Iran is refusing to cooperate in key areas with UN experts investigating possible atomic weapons work, including blocking a follow-up visit to a military facility where Washington charges Tehran is simulating testing of nuclear weapons, the UN's nuclear watchdog agency said Tuesday. Iran refused to let UN nuclear inspectors follow up on a first visit to the Parchin military camp, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.
Iran Focus: London, Mar. 01 The International Committee of the Red Cross dismissed claims by Iran that it supervised the repatriation of a group of 100 Iranians formerly associated with the opposition Peoples Mojahedin in Iraq.
Los Angeles Times: In what would mark a key shift in U.S. strategy, President Bush is considering joining European allies in offering Iran incentives to halt its nuclear programs that could be used to make weapons, U.S. officials said Monday.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Mar. 01 Workers' demands for overdue wages and actions over poor working conditions have gained momentum over the past few days in Iran, with protests and strikes erupting in a number of towns and cities. Coal miners from Sangroud are set to march today all the way to Tehran to demand that their wages be paid and safety measures be properly implemented.