“Brazil takes political risk in welcoming Ahmadinejad amid growing nuclear tension”

“Brazil takes political risk in welcoming Ahmadinejad amid growing nuclear tension”
November 23 & 24, 2009
     Taylor Barnes writes that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Brazil, which included a “prolonged embrace” with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is part of Brazil’s ongoing push to play a strong role in Middle East diplomacy [previously covered here], noting that the visit comes as Western powers look to increase pressure on Iran (Christian Science Monitor). Analysts say Ahmadinejad stands to gain more international legitimacy through strong ties with Silva, who has defended Iran’s nuclear program and stated that “there’s no point in leaving Iran isolated,” than with more controversial South American leaders like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor (2)).
     However, critics argue that the visit weakens, rather than enhances, Brazil’s international role (Los Angeles Times). Ahmadinejad’s visit was met with protests of “almost a thousand” in Rio over the weekend. Jose Serra, a leading contender in Brazil’s presidential race next year, wrote in an op-ed that “the visit symbolizes the denial of everything that Brazil stands for” (Reuters). US House representatives also criticized the visit, warning Silva that “expanding ties with Ahmadinejad is not the way” to join the UN Security Council and “be a world leader” (CNS News).
     The visit included the signing of 13 new cooperation agreements (Fars News Agency).
Christian Science Monitor | Associated Press | Christian Science Monitor (2) | Los Angeles Times | Reuters | CNS News | Fars News Agency

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