Monday, May 17, 2010

Brazil co-brokers Iran nuclear deal

Tensions over Iran’s nuclear plans appeared to have eased after Brazil helped broker a deal with the Islamic republic.

Under the arrangement Iran would send roughly 2645 pounds of low-enriched uranium to Turkey, the country other than Brazil who worked out the diplomatic plan. In exchange, Iran will receive a “smaller amount of highly-enriched uranium” destined for the country’s medical research reactor.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim praised the deal as one that could prevent U.N. sanctions against Iran in favor of a softer stance compared to the U.S. and Europe. Indeed, Amorim noted that the arrangement reaffirms Iran’s right “to have peaceful activities in the nuclear area, including enrichment.” Ironically the uranium swap agreed to today is similar to one initially agreed to by Iran in October that it would later reject.

Western powers have been lukewarm and skeptical towards the deal; the Obama administration has “serious concerns” over the deal according to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs while EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said that the pact “does not solve the fundamental problem” of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Yet as Financial Times blogger Jonathan Wheatley noted, Brazil’s diplomacy was certainly "worth trying”:
(…) the weekend’s news of a deal to swap Iranian nuclear fuel in Turkey could vindicate Brazilian diplomacy. The idea that Iran would abandon its alleged nuclear weapons program in favor of a peaceful nuclear energy program in response to amicable talks rather than under the threat of UN-backed sanctions seemed unrealistic, even naïve. But it may well have paid off. Even a US official conceded today that the latest news was “potentially a good development.”
Image- Al Jazeera English (Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva helped reach today’s uranium swap deal with Iran.)
Online Sources- NPR, Washington Post, Voice of America, Los Angeles Times,, Al Jazeera English,

No comments: