Friday, February 26, 2010
US struggles to sway Brazil against Iran
As the US seeks the broadest possible support for tougher Iran sanctions, the Obama administration is pushing Brazil to join Washington's fray against Iran.
Brazil's current position as a voter on the UN Security Council has prompted up-coming visits from the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and another diplomat, William Burns, to Brasilia, seeking support for a US initiative to impose more sanctions on Iran.
"Clearly, Brazil is an emerging power with growing influence in the region and around the world, and we believe that with that influence comes responsibility, and we will be talking to Brazil about the way forward with Iran," the Washington Post quotes State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, as saying.
Iran and Brazil enjoy cordial relations with each other and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has thrown his weight behind Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear program aimed at peaceful purposes.
In February 2010, the Brazilian envoy to the UN told the US and France that her country will not agree with tougher sanctions against Iran as it seeks more trade with the Islamic Republic.
“Negotiations should continue. If sanctions are pursued, this might block the negotiating track," Ambassador Maria Viotti told Bloomberg.
Iran's close ties with Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world, have been a cause of major concern for the US.
The US and some other Western countries endeavor to slap a fourth set of UN sanctions on Tehran. They allege that Iran is pursuing military intentions under the guise of its nuclear program.
Tehran has repeatedly and vehemently dismissed the accusations, asserting that its nuclear activities are peaceful and under the full supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Clinton's recent calls for harsher sanctions against Iran were also snubbed by China after Beijing argued that diplomatic efforts had not yet been exhausted.
"We believe there is still diplomatic room for the Iranian nuclear issue," Qin said.