Iran in talks with Brazil to resolve nuclear deadlock

TEHRAN - The presidents of Iran and Brazil held talks in Tehran on Sunday, but Iran seemed to play down the West’s belief that the discussions were the Islamic Republic’s last chance to allay growing tension over its nuclear work.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sun 16 May 2010, 10:52 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:58 AM

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu are trying to persuade Iran to revisit a stalled U.N.-backed nuclear fuel swap deal to break a deadlock over the country’s disputed nuclear activities.

Western and Russian authorities have said Lula’s trip was probably the last chance to avoid new U.N. sanctions against Iran after its refusal to halt its nuclear activities.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was due to travel to Tehran later on Sunday to join the talks, a Turkish government official said. A Turkish Foreign Ministry source had said he would only go if Iran gave a positive answer to the mediation effort.

But Iranian officials and media seemed to ignore the nuclear issue in public and instead focused on mutual relations.

“Your trip enjoys a special importance due to the onset of serious cooperation between the two great nations and also because many countries are awaiting our added cooperation,” state television quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying during a meeting with Lula.

Lula also met Iran’s most powerful authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last say on all state matters like Iran’s nuclear activities.

“America is angry over the proximity of independent countries like Iran and Brazil...That is why they made a fuss ahead of your (Lula) trip to Iran,” state television quoted Khamenei as saying.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that Lula’s mediation effort would fail.

SANCTIONS LOOM

Turkey and Brazil, both non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, have offered to mediate to find a resolution to the impasse at a time when world powers are in talks to impose a fourth round of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Iran had said it viewed the mediation positively.

A U.N.-backed deal offered Iran last October to ship 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) of its LEU — enough for a single bomb if purified to a high enough level — to Russia and France to make into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Iran later said it would only swap its LEU for higher grade material and only on its own soil, conditions other parties in the deal said were unacceptable.

Lula arrivemd in Iran on Saturday to attend a meeting of Group of 15 developing nations on Monday. Iran says leaders and top officials from 17 countries from Asia, Africa and South America will attend the meeting to develop economic cooperation.

Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, says its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful and not intended for military use as the West alleges.

The Islamic state started higher enrichment in February to create fuel for the research reactor itself, after the failure of talks with major powers over the nuclear swap. The step brings Iran’s enrichment closer to levels needed for making weapons-grade material — uranium refined to 90 percent purity.



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