May 14, 2010
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will travel this weekend to Tehran for talks with his Iranian counterpart President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The leaders will discuss Iran’s nuclear amibitions and Lula da Silva is expected to try to persuade Iran to revisit an enriched uranium swap deal before other world powers impose additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Mr. Lula da Silva is in Moscow today for meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev—another key player in ongoing negotiations with Iran. When asked to comment on the prospects of success for Brazilian efforts to revive the stalled swap deal, Medvedev said, "As my friend the Brazilian president is an optimist, I shall also be an optimist. I give 30 percent."
Critics of Lula da Silva’s foreign policy argue that Brazil doesn’t have the clout to transform Iran’s agenda and is acting out of pure national self-interest. Others, like Brazilian foreign policy advisor Marcel Biato, argue that a fresh approach to the negotiations by neutral third parties is precisely what is required. Most observers agree, however, that Brazil’s newest attempts to restart the negotiations are likely the last resort before new sanctions are imposed.