Hugo Chavez is not the only Latin American leader in bed with the Iranians:
From the Wall Street Journal,
From left to right, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, joined hands after signing a nuclear fuel swap deal, in Tehran on Monday.
Iranian Nuclear Deal Raises Fears, as it well should:
A new Iranian offer to ship out about half of its nuclear fuel—in a surprise deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey—posed a fresh obstacle to U.S.-led efforts to punish Iran for its nuclear program, and underlined U.S. difficulties in affirming its global leadership amid the assertiveness of smaller powers.
Tehran agreed to the proposal during a weekend meeting between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the leaders of Turkey and Brazil—two developing economies aiming to wield more clout on the diplomatic stage, often by opposing the U.S. “Diplomacy emerged victorious,” Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Brazilian radio. “It showed that it is possible to build peace and development with dialogue.”
And possibly line one’s pockets in the process?
Here’s the deal:
The Obama administration is about to use some strongly-worded language,
The Obama administration said it had “serious concerns” about the new offer, a weaker version of one that Iran negotiated last October with a broader group of countries to avoid sanctions—but which Tehran’s government declined to approve.
For instance, in the previous agreement Iran would have halted its efforts to enrich uranium to a level of more than 3%-4%. In the new offer, Iran isn’t called upon to stop its higher enrichment, now at 20%. (Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90%.) Though Iran would still ship out the same amount of fuel to be enriched elsewhere for its use in medical research, it has more of the fuel now—so it would keep more.
U.S. and European diplomats worried Tehran’s renewed fuel-swap plan could upend progress toward enacting new sanctions on Iran’s program through the United Nations Security Council.
The Obama administration didn’t want to step on Brazilian and Turkish toes, either:
The U.S. has had to tread carefully around the efforts of Brazil’s President da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both countries are current members of the Security Council, and though they don’t hold veto powers, agreement of 10 of the 15 members is needed for the sanctions the U.S. seeks to take effect.
Washington has been aware of the two leaders’ forays, and some officials fear they are participating in a ploy by Iran to crack international unity. But the U.S. did not appear to press the countries to cease. They have said they are standing up for the right of smaller countries to gain civilian nuclear programs. The White House was cautious not to criticize the leaders Monday, acknowledging “the efforts” they had made.
The EU was underwhelmed by America’s stance and responded in equally strongly-worded language:
Still, some U.S. and European leaders spoke bitterly Monday of Turkey’s and Brazil’s actions, saying the Iran issue could imperil Ankara’s effort to join the European Union and Brasilia’s hopes of becoming a permanent Security Council member.
Considering how the EU is falling apart, and China and Russia have permanent seats in the Security Council, I’m sure the mullahs, Erdogan and Lula are quaking in their collective boots.
Meanwhile, Hillary says U.S. Reaches Iran Sanctions Agreement With Russia and China (emphasis added):
Mrs. Clinton said the new sanctions agreement was “as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide.”
Particularly when you consider,
Mrs. Clinton’s announcement was difficult to square with China’s embrace earlier Tuesday of the new nuclear fuel-swap proposal.
And let’s not forget Russia’s helpfulness, too.