TEHRAN: UN Security Council member Brazil reiterated its support for Iran’s quest for “peaceful” nuclear energy on Monday, as world powers increased pressure for a new set of UN sanctions against Tehran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meanwhile criticised the UN Security Council and the veto power of its five permanent members as “Satanic tools” aimed at “oppressing” mankind. “What we want for Brazilian people is what we want for Iranian people, which is expansion of peaceful nuclear activities,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told Tehran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on a two-day visit to Tehran, a state television website reported.
The report said Amorim also told Jalili that Brazil, as one of the 15 members of the UN Security Council, backs Iran’s nuclear rights and its active participation in international relations. Jalili said that Brazil’s policy of defending nations who are pursuing peaceful nuclear energy helps strengthen cooperation between Tehran and Brasilia, the report added. Amorim, whose visit paves the ground for next month’s high-profile trip to Iran by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, arrived in Tehran on Monday to hold talks over the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear programme.
He is expected to meet other senior Iranian officials over the issue, including Ahmadinejad under whose presidency relations between the two countries have flourished. As a temporary UN Security Council member, Brazil has not indicated whether it would vote for or against a possible sanctions resolution targeting the Islamic republic. For a sanctions measure to pass, nine of the 15 Security Council members would have to vote in favour, as long as none of the five permanent members employ their veto.
One of the veto-wielding powers China still continues to insist that a diplomatic solution is the way out to resolve the crisis. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is travelling to Beijing on Thursday to secure China’s backing for a sanctions resolution, a European diplomat said in Luxembourg. “The Chinese haven’t supported the idea of fresh sanctions but they have allowed the process to move forward,” he said. “Probably the best we can hope for is an abstention,” he said.
“What we want to hear from the Chinese is that they are on the same page as the EU.” But on Monday Ahmadinejad, in an address to police commanders, lashed out at UN Security Council structure. “Mankind does not need the atom bomb, massive invasion or even the (UN) Security Council and its veto right,” the hardliner said, according to ISNA news agency. These are all for oppressing and destroying the reality of human beings and are Satanic tools.”
Brazil has given little credence to US arguments that Iran was trying to secretly develop a nuclear arsenal. Amorim said in a press interview on Sunday: “I don’t see Iran being close to making a bomb.” “Call us naive, but I think those who believe in everything the US intelligence service says are much more naive. Look at the case of Iraq.”