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President Lula backs Iran’s nuclear programme

November 24th, 2009
Lula Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad and Lula

Brazilian President Lula urged his Iranian counterpart to engage in dialogue on nuclear non-proliferation and backed Iran’s right to develop a peaceful nuclear program.

Lula met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Brasilia on the first leg of the Iranian leader’s South American tour, which also includes stops in Bolivia and Venezuela.

“We recognize Iran’s right to develop a peaceful nuclear program in compliance with international accords,” Lula said in a prepared speech at a news conference with Ahmadinejad.

The Brazilian leader then turned to his guest and said: “I encourage you to continue engaging interested countries to seek a just and balanced solution on the Iranian nuclear issue.”

Ahmadinejad, who called Lula his good friend, said Iran was still open to an agreement but that Western countries had shown no political will to reach a deal.

“We want to reach a fair agreement,” Ahmadinejad said, adding that Iran desires a world free of nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad, on his first visit to this emerging world economic power, sought to liken Iran’s nuclear program to Brazil’s, saying it too had faced attempts by Western powers to limit its access to advanced technologies.

Brazil is developing its own technology to enrich uranium as part of its nuclear energy program. It is also partnering with France to develop a nuclear-powered submarine.

World powers have urged Iran to reconsider its rejection of a UN-drafted deal aimed at a peaceful resolution to its contested nuclear programme.

The deal would have seen Tehran shipping its low-grade enriched uranium to Russia and France where it could be processed to be used as fuel in Iran’s medical-purpose reactor.

Instead, Iran wants a direct swap of low-enriched uranium for processed nuclear fuel, taking place on Iranian soil.

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