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Israel rebuked for doubting Iran

17 May 2010 16:44

The Brazilian government has rebuked Israel for hasty reaction to nuclear fuel swap agreement between Iran, Turkey and the Latin American country.

“Israel has the right to say what it wants, but it is the first time that Iran has agreed to send its nuclear fuel to a third country,” an adviser to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was quoted by AFP as saying.

Israeli officials were quick to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the nuclear fuel swap declaration announced by Iran on Monday following three-way talks between Presidents Lula and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A senior Israeli official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said Iran has “manipulated” Ankara and Brasilia, adding that he feared the new development would “radically complicate” efforts by world powers in slapping tougher UN sanctions on the country.

“It is going to be much more difficult for the United States or the Europeans to reject this arrangement because we won’t be only dealing with Iran, which is much easier to handle, but with rising powers, such as Brazil and Turkey, with whom relations are very sensitive,” he remarked.

This is while Israeli cabinet member Benjamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel Radio that authorities remained skeptical about the agreement and were assessing the turn of events “with a great deal of caution.”

Ben-Eliezer said time would clarify the intention behind the agreement and went on to charge that President Ahmadinejad may be seeking to “continue deceiving the entire world.”

The US, France and Britain are pushing for the imposition of a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, which Western powers claim is a front for developing nuclear weapons.

Iran rejects the accusation and argues that as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it has the right to a civilian nuclear program for electricity generation and medical research.

Turkey and Brazil — both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council — have so far resisted the efforts, urging all sides to resolve the standoff peacefully.

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