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Iran: Nuclear Inspection, Yes, Israeli Attack, No

An Iranian news agency says that Iran will allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the Parchin military site near Tehran if threats of Israeli attacks on Iran’s nuclear facility are “defused.” Western intelligence reports say that Iran has tested nuclear weapons sites at Parchin and a US think tank published satellite imagery earlier this month which it said shows ongoing construction at the Parchin site. Tehran has so far denied the IAEA access to the site. “If external threats were defused, then they –the IAEA – could be enabled to inspect Parchin,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Ghashghavi was quoted as saying by the ILNA News Agency on Thursday. Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes, but Israel and the US are adamant that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons. Israeli experts have said that Iran could have enough enriched uranium for one bomb by next spring. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned that Israel will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power.

Secret Israel-Jordan Talks

Israeli media are reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Jordan for secret talks with King Abdullah to discuss the risk of Syria’s chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamist groups. Two TV stations and Israeli news sites quoted unnamed Israeli officials who confirmed the report in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. Netanyahu’s spokesman would not confirm the meeting. Both Israel and Jordan are concerned about the fate of Syria’s chemical weapons stocks if the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad falls. The Atlantic magazine reported earlier this month that Israel had asked Jordan’s permission to fly over the country to strike at Syria’s chemical weapons sites but Jordan refused. Meanwhile, position groups in Syria say the death toll in the country has now passed 45,000 in almost two years of fighting.

Libyan Protestors Shut Down Oil Port

A major oil port in Libya remains shut down for a fourth day. The Al-Zuweitina Oil port, about 600 miles from Tripoli, receives oil pumped from at least three fields in the Libyan desert and is responsible for exporting 60-70 barrels of oil a day. The deputy oil minister said protestors forced their way into the port’s management office on Saturday and ordered him to shud down the port. It was another example of how the Libyan government is struggling to impose order on a huge country with many militias and large amounts of weapons. Libya has been unstable since the overthrow of long-time autocrat Moammer Qaddafi last year.

UN Closing Three West Bank Offices

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said it is closing three offices in the West Bank because protests are threatening the safety of its staff. It said the protests shifted from peaceful demonstrations to “illegal acts.” Protests have been held in several Palestinian refugee camps over UNRWA’s decision not to renew the contracts of 114 Palestinian employees due to budget cuts. UNRWA said the protestors stopped UN vehicles and their drivers.

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