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Iran demands nuclear recognition

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami called on the international community Wednesday to recognize Iran's right to enrich uranium, again insisting Tehran will pursue a nuclear program that some _ including the United States _ suspect is aimed at developing weapons.

Khatami warned that Iran would continue its nuclear program even if it meant ending cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

"We demand our right to enrichment be recognized by the international community because it is our legal right and in accordance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty," Khatami said. "If it does so, it will open the way for greater cooperation."

Iranian officials have denounced demands by the IAEA that Iran cease its enrichment program, a process that can produce fuel for both nuclear power stations and nuclear weapons, as "illegal."

Elsewhere . . .

VENEZUELA: Inmates rioted at a western Venezuela prison, killing at least six fellow inmates and injuring 35 others before hundreds of national guardsmen restored order, authorities said. Judge Antonio Martinez said after a visit to the site that he saw the bodies of 30 slain inmates, but prison director Luis Alfredo Pena said later that there had been just six deaths. "I cannot explain why there was confusion, or why the judge said that, but the truth is that there are six (inmates) dead," said Pena, who runs the Central Western Penitentiary, about 190 miles west of Caracas. Roughly 200 National Guardsmen quelled the rioting, which began Tuesday with inmates tossing hand grenades and shooting at rivals with firearms, officials said.

RUSSIA: Russia has filed new charges of large-scale fraud and abuse of office against self-exiled business mogul Boris Berezovsky. Authorities have issued an international warrant for Berezovsky, who has been living in London since 2000, and were taking steps to extradite him to Russia, Moscow regional prosecutor Ivan Sydoruk said in televised comments. Sydoruk said Berezovsky was wanted for fraudulently acquiring government land in Zhukovka, a suburb of large homes outside Moscow, in 1998. Berezovsky told the Associated Press on Wednesday the accusations were actually targeting former President Boris Yeltsin, who he said had privatized hundreds of thousands of former Communist Party properties by personal order.

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