AP: Iran is quietly building a stockpile of thousands of high-tech small arms and other military equipment - from armor-piercing snipers' rifles to night-vision goggles - through legal weapons deals and a U.N. anti-drug program, according to an internal U.N. document, arms dealers and Western diplomats.
Los Angeles Times: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized Israel in unusually sharp terms Thursday, warning that its plans to expand an Israeli West Bank settlement was "at odds with American policy" and could threaten progress toward peace with the Palestinians at a critical moment.
Washington Post: Halliburton Co., the world's largest oil-field services company, has pledged not to seek new work in Iran, a country accused by the State Department of state-sponsored terrorism, said New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, a steward of pension funds holding company stock ...
AP: Iranian engineers have built a secret underground storage area for use as a uranium enrichment facility in a restricted military area of interest to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, an Iranian exile said Thursday. The exile - Alireza Jafarzadeh - said by telephone from Washington that the ``camouflaged tunnel-like facility'' was completed recently at Parchin, a sprawling Iranian military complex about 20 miles southeast of Tehran.
Reuters: An Iranian exile accused Tehran on Thursday of secretly purifying uranium for use in nuclear weapons at a recently-constructed underground facility at a military complex called Parchin. "Iran has completed an underground tunnel-like facility in Parchin, which is now engaged in laser enrichment," said Alireza Jafarzadeh, an Iranian exile who has reported accurately in the past about hidden atomic facilities in Iran.
New York Times: Iran and its European negotiating partners struggled without success on Wednesday to break an impasse on reaching a long-term agreement on nuclear, economic and security cooperation. But the Iranian side presented new proposals to provide further assurances to the Europeans that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful, and the two sides have agreed to meet again soon, participants said.
Reuters: Iran and the European Union's three biggest powers ended talks on Wednesday with no agreement on how to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme, officials at the talks said. Sirus Naseri, a senior Iranian negotiator, told reporters that Iran would not consider terminating sensitive atomic work that could be used in weapons, as demanded by France, Britain and Germany, but said all four parties would meet again soon to continue negotiations.
Reuters: The European Union's three biggest powers were holding talks with Iran on Wednesday to try to persuade it to abandon nuclear enrichment technology that could be used to make weapons.
The meeting was the latest step in a diplomatic initiative that began in October 2003 when Iran first promised to suspend all work linked to the enrichment of uranium, a process of purifying uranium for use as fuel in power plants or bombs.
AFP: Nobody is planning military action against Iran over its nuclear programme "at the moment," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an interview with a Muslim magazine, adding "Iran is not Iraq". "I don't know of anybody planning military action against Iran," Blair said in the latest issue of the British monthly Muslim News, due to hit news-stands on Friday.
AP: Worried about people sneaking in from Iran, U.S. troops and Iraqi border guards are focusing their attention on the "socket" - a remote section of frontier that juts into Iran and is used by smugglers, shepherds and even jobs hunters for illegal crossings. The strongest concern, however, is that the rugged area is being used by those helping Iraq's insurgency.
AFP: Iran reaffirmed strongly Tuesday that it will pursue a full-scale nuclear program, from mining uranium, to enriching it and also building a heavy-water reactor which can produce plutonium, in comments by a senior official at a conference in Paris.
AFP: Israel has no intention of launching a strike against Iranian nuclear installations, a top official said Tuesday, quoting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Sharon made the comments during talks with a visiting delegation from the US Congress, despite months of press reports to the contrary, the official told AFP.
Iran Focus: London, Mar. 22 Dozens of British parliamentarians and prominent international law experts called today on Whitehall to remove Iran's main opposition group, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), from the UK list of proscribed organisations.
AP: An Iranian opposition group on Tuesday called on the British government to remove the People's Mujahedeen militia from a list of terrorist organizations. The Mujahedeen regard themselves as legitimate opposition to the hardline clerical regime in Tehran and claim that Britain, along with the European Union and the United States, classify them as terrorists to appease the Iranian government. British officials deny the allegation.
AFP: The United States on Monday brushed off a call by the top UN nuclear inspector that it give Iran security assurances in return for Tehran renouncing suspected efforts to develop a nuclear bomb. The State Department reiterated Washington's support for efforts by its European allies to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions and said the ball was in Tehran's court.
AFP: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged officials on Monday to press on with nuclear work and take no heed of US allegations Tehran is seeking a nuclear weapon, two days before a new round of Iran-EU nuclear talks. "I advise the officials not to pay attention to the enemies' threats and to go their own way, doing their job," Khamenei said in the northeastern city of Mashhad, in an address broadcast on state television.
BBC: The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has urged the US to become more engaged in attempts to resolve a dispute about Iran's nuclear programme.
IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said Washington would have to step in as Tehran needed security guarantees beyond those given by the EU.