Brazil’s Lula da Silva Gains International Attention With Iranian Nuclear Swap Agreement

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — An agreement signed between Brazil, Turkey and Iran has cast an international spotlight on Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with several U.S. media outlets referring to him as a new major player on the world stage.

The agreement Lula helped broker would require Iran to send  2,640 lbs. of enriched uranium to Turkey for storage, while keeping 264 lbs. of up to 20 percent-enriched uranium within the country. The agreement does not require Iran to stop enriching uranium — a condition the U.N. Security Council has demanded for the last four years.

The deal did not find a welcome response from the White House. President Barack Obama had attempted to persuade Lula to support the push for sanctions against Iran at a meeting in Washington last month. The Obama administration says it remains concerned about Iranian uranium enrichment.

The immediate result of the agreement between Brazil, Turkey and Iran was to halt the submission of a resolution to the U.N. Security Council calling for sanctions against Iran. Both Brazil and Turkey hold non-permanent seats on the Security Council.

When asked if he expected the draft resolution to gain support within the U.N. Security Council, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said “Well, ultimately, that is up to Turkey and Brazil. We will continue our dialogue with all of the countries within the Security Council and we’ll continue to watch closely and see what Iran’s response is in the coming days to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).”

Brazil’s influence on the debate over Iran sanctions has been viewed as a crowning diplomatic achievement for Lula, who is leaving office this year after serving for the last eight. “Clearly this is a huge political home run for Lula,” Christopher Garman of the Eurasia Group told The Associated Press. “He has rounded up the end of his term in a big way: He used his personal political capital and is playing a role in the Middle East.”

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Image: Agência Brasil.

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