A showdown between the US and the government of Iran over the latter's nuclear ambitions appeared to be building. In Vienna, Iranian representatives protested the wording of a draft resolution due to be submitted Thursday to the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors - even though the resolution isn't expected to call for UN sanctions. The US was insisting that the draft contain a clause under which sanctions would remain an option in case Iran resumes the enrichment of uranium. Diplomats said Iran appeared to be counting on France, Britain, and Germany, with which it negotiated a suspension of nuclear activity earlier this month, to kill the clause in question.Skip to next paragraph
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Another Sunni Muslim cleric - the second in two days - was shot to death in Iraq, and, like the first, he was a member of an influential group that has called for a boycott of the nation's Jan. 30 election. The assassination came as thousands of US marines and British and Iraqi forces began a Fallujah-like offensive in towns south of Baghdad that have been terrorist hotbeds.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters jammed the center of Ukraine's capital in another day of demonstrations similar to those that drove ex-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from power four years ago. As they massed outside parliament, opposition candidate Viktor Yuschenko declared himself the winner of Sunday's presidential runoff election and took a symbolic oath of office despite official results that gave the victory to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Meanwhile, parliament failed to muster a quorum to consider a motion by Yuschenko supporters for a vote of no confidence in the elections commission and an annulment of the official results.
Three UN elections organizers were released unharmed by their kidnappers in Afghanistan, and authorities denied that a deal had been made or a ransom paid for their freedom. The UN personnel - one each from Kosovo, the Philippines, and Northern Ireland - were found "abandoned" in Kabul, the capital, after almost a month in captivity. It was not clear whether an intensive manhunt by US and Afghan forces in the city was related to their release.
Skepticism greeted an exclusive report by Britain's ITV News channel that security services had foiled an Al Qaeda plot to crash planes into London's Heathrow Airport and the Canary Wharf complex. It attributed the report to a "senior authoritative source" and said the plan was modeled on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the US. But critics noted that the report came on the eve of Queen Elizabeth II's speech to Parliament, which was expected to detail her government's plan to counter terrorism and crime.