Brazil’s Nuclear Cooperation with Iran
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 11th February, 2010
As the United States is preparing a new Resolution to submit to the UN Security Council regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, the government in Tehran has announced that it has begun 20% enrichment of uranium at the plant in Natanz, under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Last Sunday, the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced the uranium enrichment and denounced what he called ‘the enemies of Iran’ for trying to halt his country’s nuclear and technological development. US President Barack Obama has voiced common fears in the West that Iran is aiming to achieve nuclear weapons (a situation that would particularly alarm countries on the other side of the Persian/Arabian Gulf, as well as Israel). But not all countries in the Americas see things Washington’s way, Brazil being a notable example. Since last November, President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ Da Silva and his Ministers have been exploring nuclear cooperation actively with Iran and this week, the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, declared, in defence of this collaboration, that the Iranians ‘have the right to a peaceful programme of nuclear development, just like other countries.’ That is a line which finds great resonance in much of the developing world, as well as among Tehran’s close friends and allies, who point out that (a) the United States is the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons, and (b) Israel is the only country in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons, in defiance of the non-proliferation treaty. Indeed, the Israelis bombed Iraq’s main nuclear facility when it looked as if Saddam Hussein’s scientists were on the way to weapons-grade production. And the Israelis have made clear that they would be prepared to do the same to Iran — which is why the United States has despatched missile-carying ships to the Gulf, in the hope of cooling the Israeli hotheads. But many Latin Americans, at least, ask whether there aren’t double standards at play on this issue.