Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Aug. 24

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TEHRAN -- The Iranian oil minister said on Wednesday that the country has finalized talks with Russia on gas purchase and swap, according to the Oil Ministry's news service Shana.

The contract will soon be signed in Moscow, Javad Owji said following a meeting with Igor Levitin, the visiting Russian president's senior aide. (Iran-Russia-Gas Purchase-Swap)

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JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Wednesday that Israel is against the nuclear agreement being negotiated between Iran and the world powers in Vienna.

"The agreement being deliberated by world powers and Iran cannot prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms," Lapid told a security briefing for the foreign press at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. (Israel-Iran-Nuclear Agreement)

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DAMASCUS/TEHRAN -- The U.S. military launched airstrikes targeting positions of pro-Iran militias in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zour on Wednesday, killing six Syrian and foreign fighters, a war monitor reported.

The U.S. strikes early Wednesday came after a drone attack on the U.S. al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria on Aug. 15. (Syria-US Airstrikes-Casualty)

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TEHRAN -- Iran started on Wednesday two-day large-scale drone maneuvers involving different army units, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

On the first day of the war game, the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) manufactured by the Iranian army and the Defense Ministry successfully carried out reconnaissance and monitoring missions in border areas and in international waters, said the drills' spokesman Mahmoud Mousavi. (Iran-Drone Maneuvers-War Game) Enditem

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