TEHRAAN, Iran

Iran calls U.N. resolution illogical

Iran’s foreign minister called a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog that puts it just one step away from possible Security Council sanctions “illegal and illogical” and accused the United States yesterday of orchestrating the measure.

Separately, in a letter to Iran’s ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some 180 out of 290 lawmakers called on his government to cancel Iran’s voluntary suspension of nuclear activities and scale back cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The resolution passed Saturday by the IAEA board could lead to Iran’s referral to the U.N. Security Council for violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty – and possible sanctions – unless Tehran eases suspicions about its nuclear activities. Iran insists its nuclear program is designed for generating electricity.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called the resolution “political, illegal and illogical” and threatened unspecified punitive measures against Britain, France and Germany – the key three European countries negotiating with Iran.

 

KABUL, Afghanistan

U.S. helicopter crashes, kills five people

A U.S. military helicopter crashed yesterday in a mountainous area plagued by Taliban violence, killing all five American crew members. The U.S. military said there was no sign it had been shot down.

The crash of the Chinook helicopter is the third this year involving the large troop-carrying choppers that have proved essential in battling a reinvigorated insurgency in remote, largely inaccessible parts of Afghanistan.

A purported Taliban spokesman claimed the rebels shot down the CH-47 helicopter, but U.S. military spokesman Col. James Yonts said, “Indications are there wasn’t any hostile fire.”

He said the chopper was part of a convoy of aircraft in the area and other pilots did not see it come under fire.

 

WARSAW, Poland

Exit polls show Polish ousting government

Exit polls showed Polish voters ousted the nation’s scandal-prone government of ex-communists in parliamentary elections yesterday, giving a broad majority to two center-right parties that have promised tax cuts and clean government.

Prime Minister Marek Belka’s defeated government had said it would withdraw Poland’s troops from Iraq by Dec. 31, though it might keep some officers there as advisers. The challengers said they might be open to keeping them there longer if a “new contract” can be negotiated with the United States.

 

BELFAST, Northern Ireland

Irish Republican Army fully disarms, aide says

International weapons inspectors have supervised the full disarmament of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, a long-sought goal of Northern Ireland’s peace process, an aide to the process’ monitor said yesterday.

The IRA permitted two independent witnesses, including a Methodist minister and a Roman Catholic priest close to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, to view the secret disarmament work conducted by officials from Canada, Finland and the United States, the aide to retired Canadian Gen. John de Chastelain said on condition of anonymity.

 

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