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Iran press hails end of 35-year taboo

Iranian newspapers Saturday hailed the first contact between presidents Hasan Rouhani and Barack Obama but warned that opponents like arch-foe Israel would seek to torpedo the historic opening to Washington. "It's the end of a 35-year taboo," trumpeted reformist daily Arman, referring to the rupture of diplomatic relations following the hostage-taking at the US embassy in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution. "The world caught unawares," it crowed.

Iran denies ex-president said Assad's forces used poison gas

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's foreign ministry on Monday denied reported comments by ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani accusing the Syrian government of using poison gas in the country's civil war, saying the remarks had been "distorted". On Sunday, the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) quoted Rafsanjani as saying Syrian authorities had fired chemical weapons at their own people - a striking assertion given Tehran's close alliance with Damascus. Hours later ILNA replaced the report with one that did not attribute blame for the attack.

Iran ex-president says Syria government launched gas attacks: news agency

DUBAI (Reuters) - Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said the Syrian government, a strong ally of Tehran, had carried out chemical weapons attacks against its own people, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency reported on Sunday. "The people have been the target of chemical attacks by their own government and now they must also wait for an attack by foreigners," Rafsanjani said, according to ILNA. "The people of Syria have seen much damage in these two years."

AFP 0500 GMT News Advisory

Duty Editor: Jitendra Joshi Tel: +852 2829 6211 -- TOP STORIES -- + Sharif triumphs in historic Pakistan vote + Turkey blames pro-Syria groups for blasts + ISS astronauts finish emergency spacewalk + Man U's Ferguson oversees final home game Pakistan-unrest-vote,WRAP LAHORE, Pakistan Former Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif appeals for cross-party support to help rebuild the nuclear-armed but economically crippled nation after securing victory in historic elections which defied Taliban violence.
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