Brazil, Turkey: Iran Nuclear Pact Meets UN Demands
BRASILIA (Dow Jones)--An accord for exchange of low-grade nuclear fuel reached recently among Iran, Brazil and Turkey satisfies requirements for avoiding United Nations security council sanctions against Iran, the leaders of Brazil and Turkey said Thursday.
Following a meeting in the Brazilian capital, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said security-council members should end resistance to the accord in the interest of promoting a peaceful resolution to a long-running diplomatic conflict.
"All the deadlines and dates are being met," Lula said. "We carried out everything they asked for."
Earlier this month, Brazil and Turkey struck a deal that would allow Iran to swap lightly enriched uranium for more highly enriched supplies. Under the deal, Iran would agree to ship 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium for storage in Turkey and receive fuel rods from 20-percent enriched uranium.
The agreement, while providing low-grade fuel for Iranian medical research, wouldn't prohibit Iran from maintaining its domestic uranium-enrichment program.
The deal was greeted with skepticism, meanwhile, by the U.S. and other nations, which have insisted on the possibility of U.N. economic sanctions against Iran. The proposed sanctions could including a freeze of Iranian assets, travel bans and unannounced inspections of international cargo shipments to and from Iran.
Also speaking on the matter Thursday, Erdogan said the countries rejecting the agreement for the uranium fuel swap were being obstructionist.
"The accord with Tehran was a diplomatic victory and those countries that criticize us are merely envious," Erdogan said.
Both Turkey and Brazil hold temporary seats on the U.N. security council.
The comments from the two emerging-market leaders came after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday highlighted the U.S.'s strong disagreement with Brazil's approach to the matter.
"Certainly we have very serious disagreements with Brazil's diplomacy vis-a-vis Iran," Clinton said at an event in Washington.
U.S. authorities have suggested that Iran is seeking to buy time with the deal in order to develop nuclear weaponry with high-grade enriched uranium.
Speaking at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, United Nations Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called upon the Iranian government to offer clarification on its nuclear plans.
"The United Nations welcomes recent Brazilian and Turkish diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear program," said the U.N. chief at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro. "But Iran still needs to clarify that its nuclear program is for peaceful and not for military purposes."
Iran's vice president, Ali Akhbar Salehi, head of the country's nuclear program, sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency this week requesting that the international community accept the accord in lieu of sanctions.
Alongside the U.S., permanent U.N. security council members Russia, the U.K. and France have expressed skepticism about substituting the Brazilian-Turkish accord for sanctions. The fifth member, China, has said there is still "room for diplomacy" on the Iranian issue. However, U.S. authorities have said they believe China would support sanctions.
A vote for sanctions must be approved by 10 of 15 security-council members.
-By Gerald Jeffris, Dow Jones Newswires; (5561) 3335-0832; firstname.lastname@example.org
(Diana Kinch in Rio de Janeiro and Tom Murphy in Sao Paulo contributed to this article.) http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100527-716314.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines