At an anti-US conference in Tehran Monday, Iran threatened to strike back at any country that attacked its nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, government officials reviewed a draft deal reached Sunday with EU leaders on Iran's nuclear program. Mohammed ElBaradei, chief of the UN's nuclear watchdog organization, welcomed the deal from the sidelines of an international conference on nuclear security in Sydney. The world is in a "race against time" to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons, ElBaradei said, citing a lack of global preparedness to deal with a nuclear or radiological attack by terrorists.
US and Iraqi forces launched their long-anticipated offensive on Fallujah Monday, following Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's public authorization. In concert with the offensive, intended to rout out insurgents, Allawi imposed a curfew on Fallujah, closed Baghdad International Airport for 48 hours, and tightened border controls with Jordan and Syria.
Macedonians took a firm stand against ethnic division, largely refusing to endorse a nationalist referendum that would have reversed a law giving the Albanian minority more rights. At the urging of government and EU leaders, the majority of Macedonians boycotted the Sunday election; only a quarter of Macedonia's 1.7 million eligible voters went to the polls - too few to make the vote valid - though 500,000 individuals did vote for the referendum. The results were welcomed by ethnic Albanians as well as EU leaders, who said it strengthened the country's case for joining the EU.
At a two-day summit that began Monday, Caribbean leaders discussed a stabilization plan for Haiti drafted by 19 Latin American leaders at a summit in Brazil last week. Relations between Haiti and regional governments collapsed after rebels ousted former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in March.
Yasser Arafat's wife Suha caused a stir among Palestinian leaders Monday when she accused them of wanting to "bury" her husband "alive." They briefly called off their planned trip to visit the ailing Palestinian president in France, blaming Mrs. Arafat for interfering with important questions regarding Palestinian leadership after remaining largely uninvolved in politics since her unpopular marriage to Arafat in 1991. However, the leaders decided to go ahead with the visit after all, leaving for Paris Monday.