Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sent his Foreign minister to Turkey, Rússia and Iran last week. The issue at the top of the agenda in all the conversations: Iran’s nuclear program. Celso Amorim met with Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday, but before he saw the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davotoglu, over the weekend.
“It is very important to reach a peaceful and negotiated solution for this problem. I still believe that is possible. It is not easy, but it is possible,” said Amorim after talks with Davotoglu. The two ministers discussed a uranium exchange proposal, as well as ways and means to keep talks going between Iran and the West.
On Sunday (April 25) in Russia, Amorim found less enthusiasm for negotiations with a clear tendency in favor of “intelligent sanctions” against Iran because of suspicions that nuclear weapons are the goal of that country’s nuclear program.
On Monday (April 26) in Tehran, Amorim met with the president of the Parliament, Ali Larijani, the minister of Foreign Relations, Manouchehr Mottaki, and the secretary general of the Supreme Council for National Security, Said Jalili. Brazilian diplomats have told that the talks were positive and successful.
Tuesday (April 27) , Amorim met with the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He hold him that Brazil continues to work for a negotiated settlement of the problem so as to avoid having sanctions placed on Iran because of its nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad told Amorim Brazil and Iran should work towards a new world order: “Iran and Brazil must play a bigger role in the creation of a new more just world order.”
Meanwhile, the pressure in favor of sanctions mounts. Four members of the United Nations Security Council with vetoes, the United States, England, France and Russia are in favor of some sanctions.
The other member with a veto, China, is not enthusiastic about sanctions but may be persuaded to abstain. Formal discussions at the UN on the Iranian nuclear program should take place in May.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is scheduled to be in Tehran for an official visit on May 15, returning the visit to Brazil by Ahmadinejad in November.
Part of the Iranian nuclear program imbroglio may be near a solution. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says he is willing to exchange uranium enriched to 3.5%, which Iran has and is proper for fuelling nuclear reactors for electricity, for uranium enriched to 20% that Iran wants and is needed for more specific purposes, for example, nuclear medicine.
The problem is that after achieving the capacity to enrich uranium to 20%, it is easy to then enrich it to much higher percentages used to make nuclear weapons. Under the provisions of the exchange proposal Iran would not enrich its uranium to 20%, but would let some other country do it.
The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, has confirmed that Iran is willing to negotiate with the IAEA a proposal for uranium exchange.
Lula’s special aide for International Affairs, Marco Aurélio Garcia, strongly denies that Brazil is supporting Iran’s right to a nuclear program or defending the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, because it is a friend of Iran.
According to Garcia, Brazil is trying to get Iran involved in an international discussion of its nuclear plans so that a peaceful solution can be found.
“Who says we are defending Iran? That is a media version of the facts,” declared Garcia, when he was asked if Brazil was picking a fight with other countries, such as the United States, that are in favor of sanctions against Iran.
“We are certainly not defending Iran. What we want are negotiations with Iran so as to achieve a peaceful solution to this impasse. Other countries want to portray Iran as some kind of a devil, sidelining it through sanctions that will not work, except to strengthen Iran’s resolve to resist external threats,” said Garcia.
He added he wanted the media “…to stop passing off this story that Brazil is an Iranian ally, a friend of Iran. All we want to do is bring Iran to the negotiating table for a diplomatic solution.”
Garcia noted that Ahmadinejad has signaled that he is willing to resume relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency. “The most important thing is a willingness on the part of the president of Iran to resume relations with the IAEA. We have one concern here: to get Iran to submit its program to IAEA inspections. If that happens we will be satisfied,” declared Garcia.