Diplomats to Draft New UN Sanctions on Iran
The coalition of six world powers that has been trying to get Iran to rein in its nuclear program will begin drafting a new U.N. Security Council resolution to ratchet up the pressure again, officials said Monday after a meeting in London.
Top officials from the United States, Britain, China, Russia, Germany and France agreed to begin working on the resolution after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported last week that Iran was expanding its efforts to enrich uranium, in continuing defiance of the United Nations.
The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said the United States was willing to join in talks between the Europeans and Iran over the nuclear program, provided that Iran suspended its uranium enrichment.
McCormack added: "Should they choose not to proceed down that pathway, then there will be consequences. And those consequences will be diplomatic isolation from the rest of the world."
British Court Affirms Deporting Cleric to Jordan
A British court ruled Monday that the government could deport a radical Islamic cleric to Jordan, setting the stage for the deportation of other foreign terrorism suspects in Britain to countries with poor human rights records.
The case of the cleric, Abu Qatada, which has been watched closely in Washington, is the first involving foreigners in Britain accused of posing threats to national security whom the government wants to deport rather than put on trial. Qatada, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian background who has been living in Britain since 1994, has been convicted in absentia by a Jordanian court on bombing and conspiracy charges.
Qatada has been described by the British authorities as a spiritual guide to Al Qaeda. Tapes of his preaching encouraging violence against the West were found among the belongings of Mohamed Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, and he met with Richard C. Reid, the failed shoe bomber, the police say.
Iranian Academics Denounce Holocaust Conference
A group of Iranian academics, writers, and artists has denounced the Holocaust conference held in Tehran late last year, calling it a move that endangered peace and hurt the reputation of Iranian academics.
The Iranian government organized a two-day gathering in December, billed it as a legitimate conference on the historical record, and invited notorious Holocaust deniers and white supremacists from around the world. Among those representing the United States was the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
The foreign ministry held the event after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed several times that the Holocaust was a myth invented to justify the state of Israel.
In a bold gesture, more than twenty academics, writers, and artists, many of whom live outside of Iran, signed a statement that was sent to The New York Times and circulated on the Internet last week, arguing that the gathering was an exercise in propaganda.
The statement said that the conference harmed the academic image of Iranian universities and merely provided a pretext for warmongers in the region.