Iran Nuclear NewsBrazil will oppose, but respect, Iran sanctions

Brazil will oppose, but respect, Iran sanctions


AP: Brazil’s foreign minister said Tuesday that despite the nation’s strong opposition to any new sanctions on Iran, it would respect them if they are approved.

The Associated Press


BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil’s foreign minister said Tuesday that despite the nation’s strong opposition to any new sanctions on Iran, it would respect them if they are approved.

Foreign Minister Celso Amorim spoke before a Senate committee to explain Brazil’s role in an Iranian nuclear fuel-swap deal it helped broker with Turkey.

“Brazil meticulously respects the sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council against Iran,” he said. “If there are sanctions, even if Brazil is not in favor, we’re going to respect them.”

Both Amorim and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have been outspoken in their opposition to potential new sanctions.

Iran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes, but the West fears it is geared toward nuclear weapons.

Last month, Silva and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan finalized a fuel-swap deal with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that was similar to an agreement the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency had pushed for last October, but which Iran at the time rejected.

Under the Brazil-Turkey deal, submitted last week to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran agrees to ship 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of uranium to Turkey, where it will be stored. In exchange, Iran would get fuel rods made from 20-percent enriched uranium; that level of enrichment is high enough for use in research reactors but too low for nuclear weapons.

The concerns of the U.S. and other opponents of the deal is that Iran has continued to churn out low-enriched material — reportedly doubling its stock since that failed October deal — and is running a pilot program of enriching to higher levels, near 20 percent.

Silva and Amorim, however, counter that their deal was never meant to be considered any sort of final accord on Iran’s nuclear program, but merely the first step to getting the nation back to the negotiating table, which Brazil says it was directly encouraged by President Barack Obama to do.

“Brazil was urged by President Obama to help in engaging with Iran,” Amorim said.

Silva, speaking at a union rally in Sao Paulo, said that he and Turkey’s leader “accomplished more in 18 hours of conversation” with the Iranians than the Americans had managed during the last three decades — a “demonstration that dialogue is the best way of resolving conflicts.”

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