Sunday, April 16, 2006

Iran fortifies nuclear sites, warns against attack

Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani warned against an attack against on its nuclear facilities saying that it would destabilize the entire region.

Rafsanjani said that the U.S. was using psychological warfare against Iran and that its attempts to stop Iranian nuclear development were "unjust."

Elsehwere UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also warned against U.S. military action saying that there were better ways to solve the issue.

"I still think the best solution is a negotiated one, and I don't see what would be solved by a military operation," he said. "I hope the will to negotiate prevails and that the military option proves to be only speculation," Annan told Spain's ABC Daily.

Pope Benedict, in a speech after Easter Sunday Mass, likewise called for a diplomatic solution speaking before a tv audience of millions.

The comments came as the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a U.S. think tank, released photos that it suggests show fortifications at the Natanz underground uranium enrichment facility.

According to ISIS, evidence of new tunnel openings indicates expansion of enrichment operations. They also released pictures that suggest the plant's tunnels have been gradually buried under successive layers of earth and concrete up to 8 meters (26 feet) deep.

Iran Official Warns U.S. Against Strike

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Chad may shutdown oil pipeline

Rocked by insurgency, Chad threatened to cut off its oil supplies Saturday unless the government receives frozen oil revenues from the World Bank.

President Idriss Deby survived a close call last week when his troops defeated a rebel attack on the capital city of N'Djamena.

Oil revenues were frozen in a London escrow account after thw World Bank accused Chad of violating an accord on how oil revenues are spent.

According to the agreement, the World Bank would support Chad's oil pipeline if two-thirds of oil revenue went toward improving living conditions for the poor and 10 percent into a savings fund. In December, Chad's National Assembly increased money going to general spending and the defense budget.

Chad exports about 160,000 barrels of oil daily.

N'Djamena broke relations with Sudan Friday, accusing its neighbor of supporting anti-government rebels. The Chad-Sudan border near Darfur is extremely tense with both sides accusing the other of supporting insurgents.

Many will recognize Darfur as the region where large numbers of refugees have faced starvation in recent times.

With great poverty in this region, the situation is one of the most volatile in Africa. Kofi Annan has expressed concern over the violence and hopes the international community can help diffuse tensions.

Chad: UN Envoy Urges Chad Not to Expel Sudanese Refugees

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