Brazilian president defends position on Iranian nuclear issue

11:54, May 29, 2010      

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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Friday defended his country's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear impasse and a nuclear fuel swap agreement signed between Brazil, Iran and Turkey last week.

In his opening speech at the UN Alliance of Civilizations Forum here, Lula argued for Iran's right to a nuclear program for peaceful purposes.

"We defend a planet free of (nuclear) weapons," he said, reaffirming Brazil's commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. "We believe nuclear power must be an instrument of development and not a threat."

On May 17, Iran signed an accord with Turkey and Brazil in Tehran, under which it would ship most of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for the 20-percent uranium fuel needed for its Tehran reactor.

Lula also criticized the existence of nuclear arsenals, saying they do not help maintain peace. He called the nuclear arsenals "obsolete" and a symbol of the past.

"The existence of weapons of mass destruction leaves the world more unsafe," he said, in what was most likely an answer to a statement made Thursday by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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