The United States today dismissed a proposed agreement between Brazil, Turkey and Iran that would allow Iran to swap enriched uranium for reactor fuel. The deal was brokered by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during his trip in May to Tehran. The U.S., however, appears to think that the Brazilian agreement would leave Iran with enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon.
Brazil’s role in the nuclear negotiations is part of a broader effort to increase its profile on the international stage, but the U.S. has downplayed its diplomatic efforts on Iran. Prior to Mr. Lula da Silva’s May trip to Tehran, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton repeatedly said that only UN Security Council action would be effective in curbing Iran’s ambitions. When the Brazilian president succeeded in brokering the deal, Washington declined to recognize it as an important breakthrough.
The UN Security Council is soon expected to approve a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran, which Brazil has opposed. U.S. officials met with the Brazilian deputy foreign minister on Monday in an effort to convince Brazil to abstain from voting against the sanctions at today’s Security Council meeting, rather than cast a “no” vote. Turkey, which joined Brazil in the negotiations with Iran, and Lebanon are also expected to oppose the newest round of sanctions.