Brazil pushing Iran for nuclear accord

May 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM
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TEHRAN, May 16 (UPI) -- Brazil's foreign minister said he is urging Iran to store part of its nuclear stockpile abroad to ease tensions over Tehran's potential nuclear threat.

Celso Amorim said both Brazil and Turkey were attempting to persuade Iranian leaders to reach a compromise that would include international recognition of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for Iran depositing some of its low-enriched uranium outside of the country, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Brazil and Turkey are both temporary members of the 15-member United Nations Security Council.

"What we need to do is to make sure the uranium they produce will not be misused by them," said Amorim.

A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Ramin Mehman-Parast, said the latest proposals "have the ability to lead to an agreement."

Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been expected to join Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Sunday for a meeting in Tehran, but canceled because Iran "had not taken any step" toward signing a declaration of intent to resolve the nuclear issue, Erdogan said.

Amorim said Iranian leaders "understand perfectly well that there needs to be a significant gesture."

U.S. officials said they applauded the diplomatic efforts. The United States contends Iran is using its nuclear stockpile to develop weapons. Iran says its nuclear program involves only energy production.

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