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Russia: IAEA Report Contains Nothing New

Russia on Wednesday ruled out backing new sanctions against Iran and held urgent consultations with its ally after the publication of the most damning report to date from the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Moscow's attempt to relieve its trade partner's diplomatic isolation came a day after the IAEA agency went ahead with the publication of an unprecedented report on Iran that both China and Russia reportedly wanted to suppress.

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Iran 'Ready for Talks' on Nuclear Program

Iran stands "ready for useful and positive talks" on its nuclear program as long as they are held on the basis of "equality and respect," the country's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The comment, by spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast to Iran's Arabic channel Al-Alam, came after the U.N. nuclear watchdog released a tough new report saying it had evidence Iran appeared to be pursuing atomic weapons.

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Saudi Arraigned in Guantanamo for USS Cole Attack

A Saudi man accused of masterminding the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen's port of Aden in 2000 was formally arraigned Wednesday by a Guantanamo military court.

Dressed in prison clothes, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 46, appeared before the court for the first time since his arrest in 2002, smiling several times at the judge. It is the first such case to be held since U.S. President Barack Obama reversed course and ordered the controversial military trials to resume.

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Protesters Occupy London's Trafalgar Square

Anti-capitalist protesters pitched dozens of tents in London's historic Trafalgar Square on Wednesday, as thousands of students marched through the capital against cuts to university funding.

The demonstrators at Trafalgar Square said they were allied to the "Occupy London Stock Exchange" movement, which has been camping out at St. Paul's Cathedral in the capital's financial district since last month.

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Russia Rules Out New Sanctions against Iran

Russia on Wednesday ruled out backing new sanctions against Iran and held urgent consultations with its Soviet-era ally following the publication of a damning report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Moscow's moves to relieve its close trade partner's growing diplomatic isolation came after the release of the United Nations' hardest-hitting report to date on Iran's suspected nuclear weapons drive.

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Amnesty Says Taliban Call to Limit Civilian Kills 'Hypocritical'

Human rights group Amnesty International said Wednesday that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar's call for fighters to reduce civilian casualties was "hypocritical".

Amnesty said the statement issued in Omar's name last week to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha was "more about propaganda and less about actually protecting civilians".

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Police Brace for Violence as Thousands of Students March in London

Thousands of students headed to London Wednesday to march against cuts to higher education funding, as a huge police operation sought to head off any repeat of violent protests one year ago.

Scotland Yard has deployed 4,000 officers to police the demonstration against cuts to university funding and a hike in tuition fees, which organizers expect about 10,000 students to attend.

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EU Says IAEA Report ‘Aggravates’ Current Concerns, France Threatens More Sanctions

The European Union said Wednesday a U.N. atomic watchdog warning that Iran has worked towards building nuclear warheads "seriously aggravates" existing concerns over a military dimension in Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's report "seriously aggravates existing concerns on the nature of the Iranian nuclear program, since this report puts particular emphasis on information corroborated by the IAEA regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," said a spokeswoman.

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Berlusconi Says Will Not Run for Office in Next Election

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said in an interview published on Wednesday that he will not run for office at the next election and will step down by the end of the month.

"I won't run for office," Berlusconi told La Stampa newspaper after he announced he will step down once an economic reform law is approved.

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Up to 70 Taliban Dead as Afghan Attack Thwarted

Up to 70 Taliban fighters were killed after trying to attack a foreign troop base in eastern Afghanistan, a local official said Wednesday.

The attempted assault happened late Tuesday at a combat outpost in Paktika province bordering Pakistan where militants have hideouts.

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