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Iran nuclear program "peaceful'

At the end of a weeklong mission, officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency said that based on their findings, Iran's nuclear activity and ability were entirely for peaceful purposes. Dr. John Jennekens, deputy to the secretary general of the agency, said Wednesday, "Nothing we have seen proves that there is any activity here against the peaceful principles of nuclear policy." A number of reports have indicated that Iran was seeking nuclear weapons technology from a variety of countries, including China, and that it might already be in the final stages of developing an atomic bomb. Attention has also focused on the likelihood of an Iranian bargain purchase of tactical nuclear warheads from the Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union currently in desperate need of hard currency.

Elsewhere . . .

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan _ Moslem militants on Thursday gave up their plan to storm a cease-fire line that divides the disputed territory of Kashmir, stepping back from a bloody confrontation that had already left 16 dead and hundreds wounded. The Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front had vowed to storm the U.N.-monitored cease-fire line and march into Indian-controlled Kashmir to show support for militants fighting for an independent state there. The Pakistani government opposed the march, saying it could lead to another war with India.

JERUSALEM _ A police investigation into the death of a Palestinian prisoner in a West Bank jail has cleared interrogators from the Israeli security service Shin Bet of criminal wrongdoing, the authorities said Thursday. The inquiry was ordered after the death last week of Mustafa Akawi, 35, who had been arrested on Jan. 22 for alleged activities on behalf of the hard-line Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Akawi complained at a hearing a day before his death that he had been beaten, and he showed bruises to a military judge. But an autopsy found that he had suffered from acute hardening of the arteries and had died of heart failure.

LIMA, Peru _ Marxist rebels called for an "armed strike" in Peru's capital today after a series of bombings whose targets included the U.S. ambassador's home. During armed strikes, the ultra-leftist Shining Path rebels ban all commercial activity and transport on threat of death. Previous strikes have shut down major Andean cities, where the rebel group surfaced in the late 1970s. In leaflets distributed this week, the Shining Path called for a strike across this capital of 7-million people to protest "hunger, unemployment, repression and genocide."

BAGHDAD, Iraq _ Wailing women in black paraded photos of their dead Thursday at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of a gulf war bombing that killed at least 300 people in a Baghdad shelter.

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