Not even the UN Security Council has the authority to demand that Iran stop enriching uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad contended Tuesday. His government is under a binding Security Council order to halt enrichment by Thursday or face diplomatic and financial sanctions. Iran's leaders say they won't suspend their nuclear program but have proposed further discussions on the matter. Ahmadinejad told a news conference that while Iran poses no threat to the rest of the world, "the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes" is its right and "no one can prevent it."
Calm returned Tuesday to Diwaniyah, the city south of Baghdad where Iraqi government forces fought a furious battle with militiamen from Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. But both sides took heavy casualties. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said 50 militiamen had been killed. But he acknowledged that 23 soldiers also had died and 30 others were hurt. The city was being patrolled by police and surviving soldiers, and coalition helicopters were monitoring the situation.
Police were questioning a Kurdish suspect arrested Monday in Izmir, Turkey, because he is believed to have been sent to detonate another in a series of bombs aimed at wrecking the vital tourist industry. A manhunt was on for two other Kurds suspected of planting the bomb that exploded in Antalya, a popular resort city, killing three people and wounding more than 20 others. In all, starting Sunday, five bombs went off, injuring another 27 people. A hard-line militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, claimed responsi- bility for some of the attacks.
High-level delegations from the UN-backed transitional government of Somalia and the rival Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) were preparing in Khartoum, Sudan, for a second round of negotiations aimed at easing the tensions between them. The talks are expected to open as soon as Wednesday and would be the first face-to-face contact between the two since June 22. At that time, they agreed to recognize each other. But their deal soon fell apart, with the government alleging that the UIC had broken a promise not to expand its grip on the country and the latter claiming that neighboring Ethiopia had sent hundreds of troops to defend the powerless administration of Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi. Ethiopia denies doing so.
More violence punctuated the funeral for a tribal chief killed last weekend by Pakistani soldiers in volatile Balochistan Province. At the service for Nawab Akbar Bugti, which was attended by more than 10,000 people in Quetta, grenades were thrown at police and, later, banks, restaurants, and at least one other business – courier company – were set on fire. The provincial government responded by ordering a 60-day ban on carrying guns and other "lethal weapons." Four days of rioting have resulted in at least five deaths, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of arrests.
Safe-passage routes for rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army were to be announced by Ugandan defense officials Tuesday night as the next step in the peace deal agreed to by the two sides last weekend. For the time being, the rebels are not expected to venture from their hideouts for the sanctuary of two camps set up for them in neighboring Sudan. But that move is seen as inevitable, since they're cut off from their source of support and are ringed by states obligated to arrest them in the name of the International Criminal Court. Uganda's Army has been ordered not to engage the rebels in combat except in self-defense or to protect civilian noncombatants.
Weather permitting, two Japanese commercial fishermen arrested at sea Aug. 16 for allegedly poaching in Russian territorial waters are to be handed back Wednesday morning, reports said. But the captain of their boat will remain in Russian custody and be put on trial. A fourth member of his crew was shot to death by a Russian coastal patrol off the disputed Kurile Islands, worsening relations between the governments in Tokyo and Moscow.