Morning Report: February 27, 2006

Iran disputes nuclear deal. Via Iran Focus, 'Iran said yesterday that it had struck an agreement with Russia on its nuclear programme but Moscow insisted the fundamental dispute over Tehran's nuclear plans had yet to be resolved.' But Iran will not suspend nuclear research: 'Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told Japan on Monday that Tehran will not suspend its atomic research and development, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said. Mottaki made the remarks during a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso in Tokyo, the official said.' Meanwhile, the IAEA says Iran is not cooperating: 'Uncertainties "have not been clarified after three years of intensive agency verification," said the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Mohamed ElBaradei's report comes a week before the IAEA board meets to discuss Iran's nuclear activity. The IAEA has already voted to report Iran to the UN Security Council.' (Iran Focus, BBC)

Zarqawi aide captured, says Iraqi official. AP via Yahoo reports that key al-Qaeda figure abu al-Farouq was captured in western Iraq: 'Interior Ministry forces captured a top aide to al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi during a raid in western Iraq, a security official said Monday. The official, a member of the ministry's counterinsurgency Wolf Brigade, identified the key al-Qaida figure as Abu al-Farouq, who was previously unknown. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The officer said al-Farouq and five other al-Qaida operatives were captured based on a tip from residents near al-Bakr, about 30 miles west of the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi. "Abou al-Farouq, a Syrian, was in charge of planning and financing militant groups operating in Ramadi while the other five are responsible of attacking Iraqi and coalition forces," the officer told The Associated Press.' (AP via Yahoo)

Iranian governors' offices bombed. The Intelligence Summit reports that bomb attacks struck the offices of two governors in southern Iran: 'Two bombs exploded in governors' offices in the southern Iranian cities of Dezfoul and Abadan on Monday morning, according to the official IRNA news agency. The first blast occurred at 10.04am in the Dezfoul governor's office in the oil-rich Khuzestan province and the second followed shortly thereafter in the Abadan governor's office. In both cases the explosive devices were placed in office toilets.' The report notes that the southwestern province of Khuzestan is home to more than two million ethnic Arabs. (TIS)