US outflanked in bid to bring new sanctions against Iran

Turkey and Brazil say no more punishment is needed after brokering nuclear deal

Iran appeared to draw back yesterday from confrontation over its nuclear programme by agreeing to ship uranium abroad for enrichment, a move described by Western governments as being in the right direction but not enough to avert the threat of harsh UN sanctions.

Under the agreement, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, Iran agrees to send 1200kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey for storage and will have the right after a year, to receive back 120kg of fuel enriched by Russia and China into rods for a Tehran-based medical research reactor.

If the deal is honoured, it would theoretically inhibit any Iranian plan to develop nuclear weapons. But the announcement risked undermining efforts by the US and its allies to bring China and Russia on board for a fourth round of punitive UN measures against Iran over the nuclear impasse. Moscow and Beijing have been reluctant partners in the debate over isolating Iran, a major trading partner to both.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil's president Luiz Inacio Luis da Silva, were in Tehran for the final hours of talks on the deal. Afterwards Mr Erdogan said: "My expectation is that after this declaration there will not be a need for sanctions."

Turkey and Brazil currently have seats in the UN Security Council, and thus votes on the decision on sanctions. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held the deal as a "historic turning point" and claimed no further punitive measures against Tehran were necessary.

The Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim added: "I think that declaration... eliminates whatever doubts for sanctions against Iran. There is no ground to keep trying for new sanctions. The swap agreement should be the getaway for broader discussions."

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on the Western powers to hold new talks with his government "based on honesty, justice and mutual respect." He continued: "They should welcome the major event that took place in Tehran and distance themselves from the atmosphere of pressure and sanctions to create an opportunity for interaction and cooperation with Iran."

The agreement is similar to a UN-brokered draft deal mooted last October, which fell apart when Tehran withdrew at the last minute. However, the Western powers are concerned the latest version does not address successive UN resolutions on Iran's refusal to stop its enrichment programme and the demand that it demonstrates full transparenency about its past nuclear activities. In Washington, the White House issued a cautious statement stressing that sanctions remained on the table. While the transfer of uranium abroad could be "a positive step", Iran's parallel committment to continue enriching uranium to a level of 20 per cent remains in breach of its international obligations, said Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman.

"The United States will continue to work with our international partners, and through the United Nations Security Council, to make it clear to the Iranian government that it must demonstrate through deeds – and not simply words – its willingness to live up to international obligations or face consequences, including sanctions".

The State Department said it was seeking clarification on the agreement. US Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, for Nato said the announcement was "encouraging". But he said there were "a million miles to go" before Iran could be said to be complying with the wishes of the international community.

Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, said the drive for new santions would continue although "some important progress" had been made on the matter. In Britain the Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said Iran must involve the International Atomic Energy Agency in any export of nuclear fuel. "Until Iran takes concrete actions to meet those obligations, that work [on a new UN sanctions resolution] must continue."

Lula: the deal-maker

*Brazil's President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, may have pulled off what has eluded Washington for years – a deal with Iran.

His growing influence in world affairs is naturally making some in Washington uneasy. Brazil has strong business ties with Tehran. Some in the US, however, welcome his expanding role.

"We are always saying we don't want to be the world's policeman," Wesley Clark, the former general and one-time US presidential hopeful, said last night. "So I think it's great that they step up."

He remains popular in Brazil even as his second and final term nears an end. This popularity is in part because of a perception that he has earned the country new-found clout on the world stage more commensurate with Brazil's size and growing economy. He won the 2016 Olympic Games, pushing aside a bid from the USA.

It may be the prospect of leaving office that is driving him and commentators note he wants Brazil to win its battle to secure a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. But also being muttered is his alleged ambition to become the next UN Secretary-General.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent