Iran and Iraq sparring at important oil port

Iranian warplanes inflicted damage on Basra, Iraq's vital oil port, and Iraqi helicopter gunships strafed the front lines of Iran's 100,000-man invasion army entrenched within striking distance of the city.

For the first time since Persian Gulf fighting began, Iran's gunners have a major Iraqi population center within firing range.

The leader of the Iranian parliament, Hojatolislam Hashemi Rafsanjani, denying that Iran had approached Algeria to negotiate a peaceful end to the war, said Wednesday Iran would accept no compromise and was likely to step up its military pressure on Baghdad. The announcement appeared to rebuff Prime Minister Hossein Mousavi's statement last week that Iran would welcome Algeria's mediation efforts.

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