Brazil visit to Iran: 'last chance' before new round of sanctions?
Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visits Tehran this weekend in what both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and a senior US State Department official have characterized as the 'last chance' before a new round of sanctions on Iran.
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Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visits Tehran this weekend in what a US official has called "perhaps the last big shot at engagement" with the Islamic Republic before the UN Security Council applies fresh sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend its nuclear program.
The Brazilian president will meet with senior Iranian officials Sunday in a bid to still pursue a diplomatic solution to settle international concerns on the intent of Iran's nuclear program, reports Reuters. He will be joined in Tehran by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he welcomes diplomatic mediation by Brazil and Turkey, which each hold rotating seats on the UN Security Council, and that the reason Iran didn't carry out an earlier proposal to trade some of its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel was because of a lack of trust in the West, according to Bloomberg.
While US officials publicly stress that they support Brazil's initiative, they express little hope that it will be a game-changer.
Members of the Obama administration have accused Iran of merely stalling for time. If Brazil and Turkey see no breakthroughs soon, the Obama administration hopes that Mr. Lula and Mr. Erdogan will be more disposed toward this next round of sanctions, according to Reuters.
But Lula may continue to oppose that route. He is in Moscow on Friday to discuss his Iran mediation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who himself paid a rare visit to the Middle East this past week and met with Erdogan in Ankara. Brazil's state news agency said that Lula is seeking Russia's commitment to not impose sanctions on Iran, according to the Financial Times.
Medvedev, however, appears on board with the US. "I hope that the Brazilian president will succeed," Medvedev said Friday at the Kremlin, according to Agence France-Presse. "This may be the last chance before sanctions are adopted in the UN Security Council."