Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim on Monday cautioned that the uranium swap agreement with Iran would not solve all the problems but is the “passport” to broader discussions that would create confidence in the international community and permit Iran to exercise the “legitimate right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including enrichment.''
Under the deal, Iran is ready to ship the low enriched uranium (LEU) stocks for safekeeping in Turkey within a month of the U.S. and its allies agreeing to the swap. The stalemate had arisen after Iran said it would only swap its LEU for higher grade material and only on its own soil. On its part, the U.S. has been insisting that Iran must immediately send 1,200 kilos of LEU to Russia and France for conversion into fuel rods for the TRR.
The path to Monday's agreement was smoothened by the arrival here of Brazil's President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and his private conversations with Iranian Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday. With Mr. Lula seeming to indicate Iran's amenability on the enrichment issue, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled his scheduled visit to Azerbaijan to join the talks. “There are no more excuses left for the other side to impose further pressure,'' said the Iran Atomic Energy Organisation chief Ali Akbar Salehi.
For the feisty Brazilian President — whose efforts to break the deadlock over Iran's nuclear programme took centre stage at the G-15 summit — this was a vindication of his style of politics. Ahead of his departure for Iran, he was quoted as saying that he did business “eye to eye'' while wondering why leaders from the U.S., France and England had never talked to Mr. Ahmadinejad.
Turkey and Brazil are non-permanent members of the UN Security Council and have been attempting to find a solution since last month through the diplomatic route.
“We welcome the efforts of countries such as Turkey and Brazil which are friends, and said we are ready and flexible. However, the other parties should show that they are sincere, fulfil our requirements and provide guarantees,'' said Iranian Foreign Office spokesperson Ramil Mehmanparast.