The Islamic State, the extremist militant group now almost universally vilified for atrocities that include boastful beheadings, summary mass executions and enslavement in the areas it aspires to control, also has attacked enemies with cluster bombs, the banned weapons that kill and maim indiscriminately, Human Rights Watch said Monday.
The United Nations appeared to move a step closer on Thursday to holding North Korea’s government accountable for what an investigative panel has called a history of crimes against humanity and egregious human rights abuses, as the Security Council convened a special session to hear the panel’s views on what should be done.
Halfway through a six-month nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers that was meant to allow time to reach a comprehensive agreement, the Iranians have seen little in the way of a boost from the sanctions relief they had been expecting, trade lawyers and diplomatic analysts say.
The Obama administration penalized nearly three dozen companies and individuals in eight countries Thursday, accusing them of evading sanctions on doing business with Iran.
GENEVA — After months of delay, the United Nations said Monday that Syria’s government and the opposition would hold their first negotiations aimed at ending that country’s civil war in Geneva on Jan. 22. But the precise agenda for the negotiations, as well as a complete list of participants, remained unresolved.
The authorities in Panama said Monday that they would release 33 of the 35 North Korean crew members of a rusting freighter that was impounded more than three months ago for carrying a secret stash of Soviet-era Cuban military gear hidden under bags of brown sugar.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have agreed on a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons, but the text will not threaten the use of force for a failure to comply, officials said.
UNITED NATIONS — Iran’s new foreign minister will meet counterparts from the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany later this week at the U.N. to discuss resuming talks on the protracted dispute over his country’s nuclear program, the European Union’s top foreign policy official said Monday after meeting with the Iranian minister for the first time.
Rockets armed with the banned chemical nerve agent sarin were used in a mass killing near Damascus, Syria on Aug. 21, U.N. chemical weapons inspectors reported Monday in the first official confirmation by nonpartisan scientific experts, saying such munitions had been deployed “on a relatively large scale” in the Syria conflict.
Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. security contractor, appeared to break his silence Monday for the first time since he flew to Moscow eight days ago. WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group, issued a statement attributed to Snowden that denounced President Barack Obama for revoking his passport, opposing his asylum requests and leaving him a “stateless person.”
The United States blacklisted an affluent Iranian business executive and what it described as his multibillion-dollar money laundering network Thursday, accusing them of selling oil for Iran in violation of the Western economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
JERUSALEM — Showing solidarity with Israel’s growing concern about chemical weapons in neighboring Syria, President Barack Obama stated bluntly Wednesday that if an investigation he had ordered found proof that the Syrian military had used such weapons it would be a “game changer” in U.S. involvement in the civil war there.
The United States blacklisted a Greek business executive and 14 of his companies Thursday, accusing them of conspiring with Iran to acquire eight large petroleum tankers used to transport Iranian oil to unwitting foreign customers in defiance of Western economic sanctions.
The U.N. Security Council approved new sanctions on Thursday against North Korea for its underground nuclear test last month, in a unanimous vote that came just hours after North Korea threatened for the first time to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea.
BAGHDAD, Iraq — More than 40 Syrian soldiers who had sought temporary safety in Iraq from rebel fighters along the border were killed Monday in an attack by unidentified gunmen as the Iraqi military was transporting the soldiers back to Syria in a bus convoy, the government said. At least seven Iraqis were also reported killed in the attack, which appeared to be the most serious spillover of violence into Iraq since the Syrian conflict began two years ago.
BEIRUT — Syrian insurgents and opposition activists said Monday that rebel forces had taken control of Syria’s largest hydroelectric dam, an assertion that, if confirmed, would give them significant control over a vital reservoir and what remains of the sporadic power supplies in their war-ravaged country.
At least two devastating explosions, possibly caused by aircraft missiles or bombs, struck the campus of Aleppo University on Tuesday as students were taking exams, a major escalation of the violent struggle for control of Syria’s largest city in the ongoing conflict. The opposition and government blamed each other for the blasts, and opposition sympathizers said more than 50 people were killed.
A new proposal to end the conflict in Syria was presented Thursday by China, one of the Syrian government’s few foreign defenders, which calls for a phased-in truce, the establishment of a transitional authority and an intensified international response to the humanitarian crisis afflicting millions of Syrians.
NEW YORK — Iranian exiles and the Iranian government can make for a combustible combination, as a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry discovered after an address by the country’s president to the United Nations during this week’s General Assembly.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s triumphal stewardship of the Nonaligned Movement summit meeting here veered off script on Thursday when the two most prominently featured guest speakers, President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, denounced the repression of the armed uprising in Syria, a close Iranian ally.
BEIRUT — France’s president urged the Syrian opposition movement Monday to create a provisional government and vowed to extend official recognition once it was formed.
Iran raised the possibility Wednesday of delaying or canceling the resumption of nuclear talks with the big powers, scheduled in less than two weeks, because of what it called dithering by the other side in holding preliminary meetings aimed at ensuring some success.
India emerged as a major new irritant Thursday in Western efforts to isolate Iran, announcing that it was sending a large trade delegation there within weeks to exploit opportunities created by U.S. and European anti-nuclear sanctions that are increasingly disrupting Iran’s economy.
WASHINGTON — The White House moved to tighten sanctions against Iran on Monday because of the country’s suspect nuclear program, freezing all property of the Central Bank of Iran, other Iranian financial institutions and the Iranian government in the United States.
As anti-government forces in Syria’s violent uprising have increased the pressure on President Bashar Assad to step down, Iran, his main Middle East supporter, also finds itself under siege, undermining a once-powerful partnership and longtime U.S. foe.
Alarmed by the possibility of new Western penalties that could abruptly reduce or even halt its oil exports, Iran issued a warning Monday that crude oil prices could more than double to $250 a barrel if such sanctions were given serious consideration.
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to end its authorization on Monday of the foreign military intervention in Libya, the legal basis for the NATO attacks on Moammar Gadhafi’s forces during the eight-month civil war that toppled him from power.
President Barack Obama cast some doubt on the long-term relationship between the United States and Pakistan on Thursday, saying his administration was concerned about the Pakistani government’s commitment to U.S. interests because of ties between anti-U.S. militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s own intelligence service.