Iranian official claims U.N. spies posing as inspectors

Iran’s intelligence minister accused the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency of sending spies in the guise of inspectors to collect information about Iran’s nuclear activities, state TV reported Saturday.

The claim was another sign that Iran has hardened its stance since the assassination a week ago of a prominent nuclear scientist and the wounding of another. Iran is to hold talks beginning Monday in Geneva with world powers trying to persuade it to curtail key elements of its nuclear work.

Iran has increasingly alleged in recent months that the agency’s inspectors have leaked information to U.S. officials and other allies.

CANCUN, Mexico

Climate panel revises plan for annual $100 billion fund

The slow-moving U.N. talks on combating global warming took a step forward Saturday with revised proposals for a $100 billion-a-year climate aid fund and other issues for debate by the world’s environment ministers this week.

Despite that advance, the chairwoman of key closed-door negotiations warned the open conference that obstacles remain to what delegates hope will be a package of decisions Friday.

At last year’s climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, richer nations promised $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

Firmly establishing a green fund at Cancun is a priority for developing-world delegations, who generally want a U.N. body overseeing disbursement of climate funds, rather than, for example, the World Bank, which is controlled by developed nations.

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast

Incumbent refuses to step down as political crisis grows

The two candidates in Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential election took dueling oaths of office Saturday after each claimed victory, as the political crisis spiraled out of control and renewed unrest in this country once split in two by civil war.

Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo defied calls from the U.S., France and the U.N. to concede defeat, as he was sworn in for another term. Hours later, Alassane Ouattara announced that he too had taken his own oath. U.S. President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy say Ouattara is the rightful winner.