Iran sounds warning as U.N. agency takes up nuclear issue

By wire services
Published March 6, 2006

VIENNA - A defiant Iran warned the 35 nations on the International Atomic Energy Agency's board Sunday that it will press ahead with full-scale uranium enrichment if they push for United Nations action over suspicions that Tehran is seeking nuclear arms.

The comment came as the board prepared to meet today to discuss referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council, but delegates said whatever step the council might take would stop far short of sanctions.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday there was an urgent need to confront Iran's "clear and unrelenting drive" for nuclear weapons.

Iran "must be made aware that if it continues down the path of international isolation, there will be tangible and painful consequences," Bolton told the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

But Iran's government cautioned that putting the issue before the Security Council would hurt efforts to resolve the dispute diplomatically.

"If Iran's nuclear dossier is referred to the U.N. Security Council, (large-scale) uranium enrichment will be resumed," Iran's top negotiator, Ali Larijani, told reporters in Tehran. "If they want to use force, we will pursue our own path." He said Iran had exhausted "all peaceful ways" and that if demands were made contrary to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the nation "will resist."

Yemenis sentenced in plot to kill former U.S. envoy

SANA, Yemen - Two Yemeni teenagers convicted of trying to kill the U.S. ambassador in 2003 were sentenced Sunday to five years in prison.

The judge said the two - 17-year-old Hezam Ali Hassan and 18-year-old Khaled Saleh - would be held in "a special prison" because of their ages.

According to an indictment, the two followed the car of then-U.S. Ambassador Edmund Hull in the capital, Sana. Hassan - carrying a pistol and two hand grenades he intended to throw - then climbed the outside wall of a store that Hull had entered. Saleh waited outside with a machine gun.

They were spotted by store guards and apprehended.

Their lawyer said Hassan and Saleh planned to appeal.

Zimbabwe auctions permits to hunters

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Foreign hunters bid a total of $1.5-million to shoot leopards, lions, elephants and buffaloes in Zimbabwe this year, state media reported Sunday.

In an annual state trophy hunting permit sale Friday, 64 local agents and foreign hunters, including bidders from Austria, Germany, Russia, Spain and the United States, paid $40 each to kill a lion, the state Sunday Mail newspaper reported. Bidding for permission to hunt an elephant exceeded $20,000 per animal.

The state Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said the hunting revenues were to be used in conservation programs across the country.

Thousands demand Thai leader's resignation

BANGKOK, Thailand - Tens of thousands of protesters demanding the prime minister's resignation marched to his office Sunday night after a boisterous rally accusing Thaksin Shinawatra of corruption and abuse of power.

Marchers were stopped by a police line near Democracy Monument - the site of bloody prodemocracy demonstrations in 1973, 1976 and 1992.

But protest leaders negotiated with authorities and won permission to continue to the prime minister's office.

No major violence was reported. Thaksin was believed to be in northeastern Thailand.