News in Brief

Khodorkovsky Welcome



Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky said Monday he would welcome jailed former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky in the liberal party's ranks.

Speaking at a news conference in Chelyabinsk, Yavlinsky called Khodorkovsky's Yabloko membership a "very good idea."

"We have an open party, and anybody who applies can join it," Yavlinsky said, Interfax reported.

He noted, however, that Yabloko had not received an application from Khodorkovsky.

Khodorkovsky, currently serving out a prison sentence on fraud and tax evasion charges, contributed "several million dollars" in 2003 and 2004, Yavlinsky told The Moscow Times earlier this year. (MT)




Tehran Urged to Cooperate



Russia said Monday that a report by the UN nuclear watchdog reflected some progress in clarifying Iran's nuclear activities but urged Tehran to continue its cooperation with the inquiry.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said the IAEA's report was a move forward but that the agency should continue its probe.

"It's not a final positive diagnosis yet," Kamynin said in a statement. "The IAEA still can't confirm the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran. To achieve that, Iran still has to do lot in cooperation with the agency."

Russia, which is building Iran's first nuclear power plant, has grudgingly supported the previous sanctions, but opposed tougher measures. (AP)




Karimov Registered to Run



TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Islam Karimov has registered as a candidate in next month's presidential election, Uzbekistan's electoral commission said Monday, although the constitution bars him from a third consecutive term.

Three other candidates have also registered to run in the Dec. 23 vote, said the electoral commission's chairman, Mirzo-Ulugbek Abdusalomov.

Karimov, who has ruled since before the Soviet collapse of 1991, is expected to win the vote.

Although the constitution bars presidents from serving more than two consecutive terms, Karimov earlier this month accepted a pro-government party's nomination to run in the upcoming election. No official explanation has been provided. (AP)