Accuracy should not be sacrificed for speed, Iran's Foreign Ministry said Sunday, arguing that the complexity of the Western incentive package for halting the enrichment of uranium requires lengthy and careful study. The government in Tehran has said it finds parts of the proposal "acceptable" but others should be changed. The offer was presented June 6, and the Iranians have said they expect to respond by Aug. 22. President Bush said last week that the proposal is "reasonable" and that he wants an answer by the end of next month. Meanwhile, for the second time in three weeks an Iranian leader warned that, if attacked because of its nuclear program, his government "will use oil as a weapon."
Despite more heavy casualties over the weekend by the Taliban, their fugitive leader purportedly boasted in a new audiotape that the government of Afghanistan lacks the wisdom to "solve the issue" of escalating violence there. A Pakistani TV channel, which broadcast the tape, said it had been recorded by Mullah Mohamad Omar, but that could not be authenticated immediately. On it, the speaker also claimed that Taliban still control vast areas of Afghanistan. Omar hadn't been heard from since last July 5. Operation Mountain Thrust, which is being conducted by coalition forces, killed at least 80 more Taliban in fighting Friday and Saturday, bringing the total so far to about 250, military spokesmen said.
Six suspected terrorists were shot to death and 42 others were arrested in clashes with police in Saudi Arabia Friday and Saturday, but the latter also took significant casualties, the Interior Ministry said. In a statement, it identified the dead as Al Qaeda members and said those arrested were involved in activities connected to radical Islamist groups and that weapons and documents also were seized in Riyadh, the capital, and at a desert hideout. The kingdom has undertaken a high-profile campaign against Islamist militants since May 2003.
A cleric on the US list of most-wanted terrorists was appointed to head the new parliament installed by the Islamist militia that seized control of Somalia's capital earlier this month. Western diplomats said the move was "clearly disturbing." Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a onetime military officer, is known to want Somalia to be under rigid Islamic law, or sharia. He disappeared from public view after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US. The Bush administration alleges that Aweys had ties to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jose Ramos-Horta quit as foreign and defense minister of East Timor Sunday, deepening the political crisis that has contributed to weeks of violence there. The transportation minister also announced he was leaving his post. Both cited as their reason the unanimous decision by the ruling party, Fretilin, to back embattled Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, whose resignation was demanded by President Xanana Gusmao last week. Alkatiri accepted the vote of confidence and said he intended to remain in office. Gusmao, the hero of East Timor's successful bid for independence from Indo-nesia, had said he himself would quit if Alkatiri refused his demand. As of Sunday night, however, aides were not saying what his next move would be.
Almost half of the 378 World Cup soccer fans from Britain who were arrested over the weekend for brawling with supporters of Germany's team will be kept in jail until Monday as a preventive measure, Stuttgart police said – meaning they'd miss their team's critical Sunday afternoon game against Ecuador. The worst of the clashes erupted Saturday night after the Germans reportedly taunted the visitors and the two groups fought hand-to-hand and with glass bottles and plastic cafe tables and chairs. Four policemen were hurt trying to separate them as were at least five German fans. Fans of England's team who were freed from jail were OK'd to attend the game against Ecuador but were banned from downtown Stuttgart afterward.