Brazil To Question Iran’s Nuclear Aims When Ahmadinejad Visits

By Dialogo
August 05, 2009

Brazil is expecting a visit this year by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and will question him over Tehran's nuclear program, an aide to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. "We are expecting the visit here of the Iranian president to firm up, which will be an excellent opportunity for Brazil to communicate a number of points of view, especially concerning the Iranian nuclear program," Lula's advisor on foreign affairs, Marco Aurelio Garcia, told reporters. US President Barack Obama "has asked Brazil to play a moderating role, (and) the Israeli foreign minister has also said Brazil could exercise its influence" on the issue, he said. Brazil has said it supports a peaceful, nuclear energy program in Iran. But many Western nations, and Israel, suspect Tehran is trying to develop an atomic arsenal under cover of those efforts. Iran insists its program is peaceful and aims to meet the country's growing energy needs. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said during a visit to Brazil last month that he wanted to see Brazil use its clout with Iran to make it stop its nuclear program. Brazilian officials declined, on the grounds that Iran has the right to civilian nuclear operations. Garcia said the date of Ahmadinehad's visit was not yet set, but it should happen this year. The Iranian president had been scheduled to visit Brazil in May, but canceled at the last minute to focus on what turned out to be controversial June 12 elections at home.