Syria fires over borders with Lebanon, Turkey
BEIRUT – Syrian forces opened fire across two tense borders Monday, killing a TV journalist in Lebanon and at least two people in a refugee camp in Turkey on the eve of a deadline for a cease-fire plan that seems all but certain to fail.
Across Syria, activists reported particularly heavy violence with more than 125 people killed in the last two days.
The Obama administration expressed outrage at the violence spilling over the frontiers, saying the Syrian government appeared to have little commitment to the peace plan that was negotiated by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan.
The latest bloodshed was a sign of how easily Syria’s neighbors could be drawn into a regional conflagration as President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on a year-old uprising becomes increasingly militarized, despite desperate diplomatic efforts.
Iran proposes compromise before nuclear talks
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran is signaling a possible compromise offer heading into critical talks with world powers deeply suspicious of its nuclear program: offering to scale back uranium enrichment but not abandon the ability to make nuclear fuel.
The proposal – floated by the country’s nuclear chief as part of the early parrying in various capitals before negotiations get under way Friday – suggested that sanctions-battered Iran is ready to bargain.
But this gambit, at least, appeared to fall short of Western demands that Iran hand over its most potent nuclear material and ease a standoff that has rattled nerves and spooked markets with seesaw oil prices and threats of Israeli military strikes.
The talks involving Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council nations plus Germany, to be held in Istanbul, are the first direct negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program since a swift collapse more than 14 months ago.