Iranian nuclear program
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran said Saturday it would continue its nuclear program but provide "guarantees" not to build atomic weapons, and warned Washington it cannot stabilize neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan without Tehran's help.
In a wide-ranging news conference, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said the wall of mistrust separating Tehran and Washington had become thicker during the Bush administration, adding he hoped American casualties in Iraq would affect U.S. public opinion before the November election.
Washington claims the Iranian nuclear program is aimed at building atomic weapons, but Tehran says it is directed at generating electricity.
"We are ready to do everything necessary to give guarantees that we won't seek nuclear weapons," Khatami said.
"As Muslims, we can't use nuclear weapons," he told reporters in Tehran. "One who can't use nuclear weapons won't produce them."
He did not elaborate on the nature of the guarantees, but Iran has already agreed to international inspections of its nuclear facilities and military sites. Khatami reiterated his country would not give up its nuclear program.
Hurricane watch issued
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A hurricane watch was issued for the South Carolina coast Saturday as forecasters predicted Tropical Storm Gaston would make landfall near Charleston tonight.
The National Hurricane Center posted a hurricane watch for the South Carolina coast from the Savannah River to Little River Inlet as Gaston drifted slowly to the northwest.
A tropical storm watch remained in effect from Little River Inlet north to near Wilmington, N.C., and south to the Georgia-Florida line.
Gaston -- the hurricane season's seventh named storm -- was about 115 miles southeast of Charleston, moving westward at about 2 mph with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph. A weather system becomes a hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph.
Gaston, which formed southeast of Charleston on Friday, could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to coastal areas. A flood watch was issued for parts of South Carolina and North Carolina.
In the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Frances strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds nearing 135 mph, but it was not expected to threaten land soon.
Frances was moving northwest near 9 mph with sustained winds near 135 mph.
Police officer charged withthreatening to shoot Bush
TAMPA, Fla. -- A police officer who mouthed off while picking up his uniform at the cleaners has been indicted on a charge of threatening President Bush after being accused of saying he would shoot him and his father if someone gave him the bullets.
Joseph Mazagwu, 35, surrendered Friday on charges of threatening the president and lying to investigators. The rookie officer has been suspended from the force and could lose his job.
If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison. He had no comment after his first court appearance and was released on $25,000 bail. The prosecutor said there was no evidence Mazagwu pursued the threat.
His lawyer, Deeann Athan, said the charge stemmed from "a huge misunderstanding."
On July 15, a day before Bush visited Tampa, Mazagwu was picking up his dry cleaning when the owner asked if he would be part of the president's security detail.
The 11-year U.S. Army veteran and Nigerian native answered that he would not work it under any circumstances and criticized the war in Iraq and U.S. policies in Africa.
Warrant issued for sonof former prime minister
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea -- Equatorial Guinea has requested international arrest warrants for Mark Thatcher, son of a former British prime minister, and other British financiers accused in an possible coup plot in this tiny oil-rich nation, the deputy premier said Saturday.
The warrants are necessary before extradition can be sought, but Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Mangue Obama Nfube said Equatorial Guinea was still studying whether to seek the handover of Thatcher, who was arrested Wednesday in South Africa.
Nfube told reporters in the capital, Malabo, that Equatorial Guinea had asked for "international arrest warrants for all responsible in this coup d' & eacute;tat."
Nfube named Thatcher, the 51-year-old son of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, financier Eli Calil and Simon Mann.
Mann, a former Etonian, British special forces operative and noted mercenary in Africa, was convicted Friday in Zimbabwe in an arms deal connected with the reported plot here.