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Newspapers operating with the approval of Iran's government scorned diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the confrontation over nuclear research as "worthless," and the Foreign Ministry said the US - in particular - was in no position to offer security guarantees. "America itself needs security guarantees because it has many problems," the ministry said Sunday. It said Iran would not give up the enrichment of uranium that could be used in warheads even if the UN Security Council dropped all discussion of its nuclear program. British, French, and German diplomats are expected to share their latest thinking on proposed incentives for Iran Wednesday at a key meeting in London with representatives of fellow Security Council nations China, Russia, and the US.

Two Islamic militant groups claimed responsibility for an attack on a rally in Indian- controlled Kashmir Sunday that killed at least eight people and wounded 25 others, several of them critically. Reports said an estimated 3,000 people had gathered in a public park in Srinigar, the region's largest city, for a memorial to slain Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when attackers dressed as police threw grenades into their midst and fired at the speakers' rostrum. Islamists had vowed to disrupt a peace conference on Kashmir that is scheduled in the city Wednesday.

Over the protests of his conservative opponents, the Socialist prime minister of Spain announced plans to open peace talks with the Basque separatist movement ETA. On a visit to the Basque region, José Luis Rod-riguez Zapatero said he would ask parliament next month to sanction "the start of the process of dialogue" with ETA, which declared a "permanent" cease-fire March 22. Zapatero also said he'd propose writing a mention of the organization into the preamble to the Constitution. ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths since beginning its campaign for an independent homeland in the late 1960s, but none since May 2003.

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UN support troops backed thousands of Congolese Army soldiers in an assault on a rebel stronghold to try to secure eastern provinces in time for this summer's national election. An Army spokesman said his side lost four men but killed at least 32 rebels. The stronghold, Tcheyi, was under government control, he said, after an attempt to capture it failed earlier this year. The UN has its largest peacekeeping mission - 17,000 troops - in Congo to try to ensure a safe election, the nation's first in 40 years.

With hours of voting left to complete, elections officials in Montenegro said the turnout for Sunday's referendum on independence easily had cleared the threshold for a valid outcome. At least 52 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots that asked: "Do you want Montenegro to be an independent state?" Turnout was reported heaviest in the north of the republic, which borders Serbia and is heavily populated by ethnic Serbs. They were expected to reject the idea of breaking with Serbia, but it was unclear whether their numbers would be large enough to deprive the "yes" vote of the 55 percent needed for passage.

The director of a coal mine in northern China was in hiding and nine of his managers were arrested, reports said, for trying to conceal the scale of flooding that has trapped at least 44 men deep underground since last Thursday. Rescue crews were searching for survivors. The accident is the worst so far this year in China, which has a notoriously poor mine safety record. The state news agency, Xinhua, said records showed the mine in question was producing as much coal per month as it is licensed to dig per year.

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