Brazil and Turkey on Thursday called on world powers to accept their deal with Iran meant to rein in its nuclear program, but the US dismissed their initiative as “dangerous.”
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, joined by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, charged that Western powers were aggravating the conflict with Iran and had failed to negotiate in good faith.
“We did everything [the West] wanted and everything we could, now they have to say clearly whether they want to build peace or if they want to build conflict — Turkey and Brazil are for peace,” Lula told reporters as the two met in Brasilia.
They had each traveled to Tehran to broker the fuel swap deal, under which Iran agreed to send low-enriched uranium abroad as a way to counter fears that Tehran was working to make nuclear weapons, which it denies.
The deal, announced last month, was greeted with skepticism by the US and other powers, who say Iran has failed to stick to earlier agreements. It was similar to a plan drafted by the UN last year which was not realized.
In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is pressing the UN Security Council pass a new round of sanctions on Iran, condemned the Brazilian/Turkish approach.
“We think buying time for Iran, enabling Iran to avoid international unity with respect to their nuclear program, makes the world more dangerous not less,” she said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a think tank.
“Certainly we have very serious disagreements with Brazil’s diplomacy vis-a-vis Iran,” she added.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was visiting Brazil, said Iran had to do more to dispel international concerns.
“At the heart of this crisis there appears to be a serious lack of trust and confidence in Iran,” Ban said.
While declaring it has no intent to make nuclear weapons, “Iran has at the same time declared it will continue the [uranium] enrichment process,” Ban told reporters.