AFP: Brazil on Wednesday denied assertions from Iran that it had offered an alternative plan for a uranium swap acceptable to Tehran and aimed at breaking a international deadlock over Iran’s nuclear program.
BRASILIA (AFP) — Brazil on Wednesday denied assertions from Iran that it had offered an alternative plan for a uranium swap acceptable to Tehran and aimed at breaking a international deadlock over Iran’s nuclear program.
A Brazilian foreign ministry spokesman told AFP that no such plan had been proposed during a visit to Tehran last month by Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
“We were informed that an official Iranian government website mentioned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supported a Brazilian ‘program’. But there was no presentation of a formal program during the foreign minister’s visit,” the spokesman said.
He added that the ministry understood that “President Ahmadinejad backs Brazil’s vision of maintaining channels for dialogue. Minister Amorim responded to a question in a press conference in Tehran and said that Brazil stood ready to analyze any possibility.”
Brazil’s denial deflated a statement on the Iranian website president.ir, which said Ahmadinejad discussed a Brazilian proposal in a telephone conversation with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday.
“The main issue of talks between Ahmadinejad and Chavez was the Brazilian president’s proposal regarding the nuclear fuel swap and Ahmadinejad declared his basic approval to this proposal,” the website said.
The website did not give details about a Brazilian proposal.
The only clues to what it might have been referring to was a report carried by Iran’s official news agency IRNA on April 27 in which Amorim was quoted saying Brazil could host a fuel swap deal if asked by Tehran.
“As of now there is no proposal, but if we receive such a proposal, it could be examined,” Amorim said, according to IRNA.
He was also quoted as saying that Brazil could act as a “political guarantor” for the deal.
Currently, Iran and Western powers, led by the United States, are at an impasse over a a UN-drafted nuclear fuel swap deal for Tehran, which envisages supplying Iran with nuclear fuel in exchange for its low-enriched uranium stocks.
The deal stalled after Iran insisted the two materials be exchanged simultaneously within its borders — a condition rejected by world powers which accuse Iran of masking a weapons drive under the guise of what Tehran says is a purely civilian atomic program.
Brazil, a rotating UN Security Council member, is resisting the US-led push for UN sanctions against Iran to push it back into negotiations.
The Brazilian foreign ministry spokesman said Brazil “remains ready to continue acting as a dialogue facilitator” in the stand-off.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is to fly to Iran at the end of next week to meet Ahmadinejad.