World News Brief, Friday January 13

Hillary Clinton denies US involvement in a car bombing that killed an Iranian nuclear scientist; Japan will reduce Iranian oil imports as part of US-led sanction; Myanmar government has negotiated ceasefire with Karen National Union; US Marines to investigate video of soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses; Mexico's drug war increasingly unpopular

Top of the Agenda: U.S. Denies Role in Killing of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied any U.S. involvement (al-Jazeera) in a car bombing that allegedly killed an Iranian nuclear scientist on Wednesday. Iran, which blamed the United States and Israel for the attack, called on the United Nations to condemn the killing in the "strongest possible terms." The incident comes amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran over the latter's nuclear program, which the West contends is intended for manufacturing nuclear weapons.


"What has raised the world's suspicions is that Iran continues to produce 20 percent enriched uranium despite the fact that this exceeds its civilian needs and, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acknowledged in September, does not make economic sense," writes Olli Heinonen on

"Covert action creates the time and space for pressure to build, while reducing the need for military action. Ultimately, covert action should be aimed at bringing enough pressure to bear on Iran's leaders so that they understand they will never reach their goal of being a nuclear power," writes Andrew Cummings in the Guardian.

"Whatever the moral considerations, there is no doubt that curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions is a paramount goal for policy-makers and security services alike, and the covert campaign appears to be the most effective means of delaying the Iranians' progress," argues this Daily Telegraph editorial.



Japan to Reduce Iranian Oil Imports

Following a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Japan would continue to reduce its imports (al-Jazeera) of Iranian oil as part of a U.S.-led plan to sanction the country over its nuclear program.

The new sanctions regime places the United States' tactics and objectives -- a negotiated end to Iran's nuclear ambitions -- at odds. In effect, the administration has backed itself into a policy of regime change, an outcome it has little ability to influence, writes Suzanne Maloney in Foreign Affairs.

MYANMAR: Government officials negotiated a ceasefire with the Karen National Union (BBC), a rebel group in eastern Karen state that has been fighting for increased autonomy for over sixty years.



US investigates video of soldiers urinating on corpses

Mexico's drug war attracts criticism


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