This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Brazil takes a step closer to Iran

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Brazilian president Luis Inacio "Lula" ad Silva signed a raft of 13 agreements on 24 November 2009 that encompassed just about everything except military and energy.

The most notable agreement signed detailed the loosening of visa restrictions. As those of you who have traveled from Brazil to the US know, Brazil maintains a reciprocal visa policy, which simply reciprocates for foreign nationals the procedure required for Brazilians to enter any given country.

So if Iran agrees to allow Brazilians to visit Iran and receive a three-month tourist visa upon entry, then the same would be true for Iranians visiting Brazil. I haven't seen the wording of that particular agreement, but I suspect it might be something similar to a three-month tourist visa stamp upon arrival.

Ahmadinejad also won an important position statement from Lula, who has now announced that Brazil supports Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy. This is classic Lula, who likes to talk one way and act another. Given Brazil's desire to reform the UN Security Council, such positions are not tenable in an environment where Iran is considered a "non-aligned" country.

It's also worth mention that Brazil has had its own disagreements with the IAEA, so Lula's position in support of Iran is also one that supports Brazil's long history with the IAEA, one that promotes sovereignty and peaceful nuclear development. But then again, Brazil is not Iran, nor is it a "non-aligned" country.

When push comes to shove, I don't think Brazil will choose supporting Iran over its UN goals.

And on that note, Petrobras announced on 16 November that it's conducting an evaluation of its operations in Iran to determine if the energy company should pull completely out of Iran. The excuse? Discoveries have not been commercially viable...

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