Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Feb. 21

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TEHRAN -- The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Sunday held talks with the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and Iranian foreign minister over the settlement of issues on Iran's nuclear program, as Tehran has decided to stop the IAEA's Additional Protocol on Feb. 23 if U.S. sanctions are not lifted, Press TV reported.

The talks between Rafael Grossi, director general of the IAEA, and Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of the AEOI, revolved around the simultaneous implementation of the IAEA's Safeguards Agreement and Iran's Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions. (Iran-IAEA-Talk)

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ALGIERS -- The Algerian defense ministry on Sunday denied reports that it plans to send troops to Sahel region, state-owned Radio Algeria reported.

These "ill-intentioned and false" reports "aim at sowing chaos and destabilizing" Algeria, the ministry was quoted by the state radio as saying in a statement. (Algeria-Troops-Denial)

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ISTANBUL -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Sunday discussed over the phone the cooperation possibilities in a wide range of fields, Turkey's presidential office said.

During the talk, Erdogan and Rouhani discussed the steps to improve cooperation in the economy, transportation, security, and other areas, the presidency said in a written statement. (Turkey-Iran-Presidents Talk)

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TRIPOLI -- The interior minister of Libya's UN-backed government, on Sunday survived an assassination attempt by unidentified gunmen in the west of the capital Tripoli, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

"At 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), an assassination attempt targeted Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha as he was returning from his residence in Janzour district (western Tripoli). An armored Toyota opened fire at the Minister's convoy using machine guns," the statement said. (Libya-Minister-Survival) Enditem

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