U.S. and G-8 to Talk

Of Penalties on Iran

The Bush administration plans to take up strategy for U.N. sanctions against Iran at a meeting tomorrow of senior officials from the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

All of the G-8 countries -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia -- will have senior officials at the State Department session, department spokesman Richard A. Boucher said yesterday.

They will consider a proposed package of incentives designed by Britain, France and Germany to induce Iran to halt enrichment of uranium, a key ingredient in a nuclear weapons program.

"We're going to hear from the Europeans on the work they've been doing on how to get the Iranians to comply," Boucher said. But, he said, "we are going to discuss with them further what to do in the Security Council if there's agreement in November to refer it there."

Short of votes, the administration has been stymied in trying to punish Iran in the council. The strategy now is to move against Iran if it does not stop its program before the International Atomic Energy Agency meets in Vienna in late November.

Whether the administration would have the votes for passage if the Europeans held negotiations on Iran about incentives is an open question. "We are not going to jump seven steps down the road," Boucher said, declining to offer a prediction.

Southern States to Gain

From Tobacco Buyout

North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee are the top three states to benefit from the government's recent decision to pay tobacco farmers $9.6 billion to leave the federal leaf-growing program.

People who grow tobacco or own quotas giving them the right to do so in North Carolina will receive payments worth about $3.9 billion over 10 years, according to an analysis by University of Tennessee agricultural economist Kelly Tiller.

In Kentucky, they will get about $2.5 billion, while those in Tennessee will get an estimated $767 million during the 10-year period that begins sometime next year, Tiller said.

South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri round out the list of states where people are expecting buyout payments. A fraction -- $93 million -- will go to people in other places, according to Tiller.

The cash infusion is expected to create thousands of jobs, Tiller said.

State Dept. Opposes

Anti-Semitism Bill

Declaring that it already works hard to combat anti-Semitism, the State Department yesterday opposed legislation approved by Congress to document attacks on Jews around the world each year.

Congress passed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 over the weekend and sent it to President Bush. The legislation also would set up an office in the department to counter anti-Semitism.

"If it becomes law we will implement it," State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher said.

But he said the legislation was unnecessary and that "separate reports on different religions or ethnicities were not warranted" because the department already issues reports on human rights and religious freedom.

The Anti-Defamation League, a 91-year-old private organization that combats racism, including anti-Semitism, supported the legislation, saying it was recognition of a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism globally.

-- From News Services