The Iranian newspaper Tabnak reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech on Wednesday, took a hard line with Russia and also pressured the US to accept the deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil on Iranian low enriched uranium (the “Tehran Declaration.”)
Ahmadinejad, speaking in the city of Kerman, said that Iran and Russia had been friends for centuries. He addressed Dimitry Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, saying that there was some danger if Russia continued on its present path that Iranians would switch, and begin considering Russia a historical enemy. He added, “We are both neighbors, and two neighbors cannot but be friends with one another. But this friendship has prerequisites. The first prerequisite is honoring reciprocal rights, and defense of them, and mutual respect.”
He continued, “Today, explaining the behavior of Medvedev toward the nation of Iran is very difficult for us . . . The people of Iran do not know if the Russians are our friends or are against us.” He advised President Medvedev to speak with more caution and forethought about such a large and capable nation as Iran.
“We must not perceive that our neighbor, on sensitive positions, has taken the side of those [the United States] who have for 30 years with all their might acted with enmity toward the nation of Iran . . . This matter is unacceptable. The Tehran Declaration is the greatest opportunity and there is no longer any pretext.” He said that if, before, the Russians could say that the West was putting pressure and wanted to see Iran take some significant step and make an important announcement, well, it had now done so.
He said, “We are also under pressure. But can we, just because of that pressure, act against the Russian nation?”
He warned, “They must not permit the Iranian nation to begin considering them as being on the level of historical enemies.”
Ahmadinejad went on to warn President Barack Obama of the US that the Tehran Declaration represents a “historic opportunity for him” should he genuinely want “change,” — an opportunity to begin respecting the rights of other nations and to abandon wrong and inhumane policies, treating other countries instead with justice and fairness.
Ahmadinejad’s blunt comments on Russia brought rebukes from that country. According to Interfax, May 26, 2010, as translated by the USG Open Source Center, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the International Affairs Committee in the Russian parliament, said he was “disappointed by today’s quite harsh statement by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad about the Russian and US presidents.”
The report continues,
‘ “I am quite disappointed that Mr Ahmadinejad resorted to the megaphone diplomacy method instead of relying on a substantial and constructive conversation on an expert level,” Kosachev told Interfax.
“I leave on the conscience of the Iranian leaders their belief that Russia is supporting forces hostile to Iran, but I would like to emphasize that there are very few counties which sought the observance of all norms of international law with respect to Iran’s nuclear programme as consistently as Russia,” Kosachev said, adding that “Russia has always been and will be committed to this position”.
The Russian MP said he was pleased that the Iranian authorities had finally, although after a long delay, sent the agreement on further enrichment of Iran’s nuclear fuel reached with Turkey and supported by Brazil to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] for assessment. “We can only welcome the fact that the day before yesterday the Iranian authorities sent this document to the IAEA for assessment. However, one cannot but regret that this was not done earlier,” Kosachev said.’
Turkey and Brazil negotiated the agreement announced early last week whereby Iran would send over half of its low enriched uranium to Turkey to be held in escrow and would receive from the international community uranium enriched to 19.75% to run its medical reactor, which produces cancer-fighting isotopes. Both Turkey and Brazil are lobbying for United Nations acceptance of the Tehran Declaration.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva is putting pressure on President Obama to accept the agreement and to back off imposing further sanctions on Iran. Brazil is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council at the moment and its positions have some weight with other non-permanent members.
The USG Open Source Center translated the following news report on Lula’s lobbying of Obama, from the Portuguese press. The article reveals that Obama is insisting that Iran completely cease its uranium enrichment program if it wants to see sanctions lifted and rejoin the international community.
‘ Brazil’s Lula Urges President Obama To Reconsider Iran Sanctions
Report by Denise Chrispim Marin: “Lula Sends Obama Letter To Avoid Sanctions on Iran”
O Estado de Sao Paulo digital
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 …
Document Type: OSC Translated Text …
Brasilia – In a letter sent by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to his US counterpart Barack Obama, the Brazilian leader cautions that new UN Security Council sanctions on Iran could provoke the loss of the opportunity created by the Tehran Declaration to reach a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Taking the precaution of not using the word “sanction,” Lula insisted on stating in his letter that the declaration elicited support from high-ranking leaders.
Lula sent the above letter in response to one sent to him by Obama late in April in which the US President made it clear that he would not give up its demand for sanctions, unless Iran discontinued its uranium enrichment activities immediately. This warning was not contained in excerpts of the letter leaked to Reuters on Friday.
Lula’s letter suggests between the lines that the United States give a truce to Iran before putting new sanctions to a vote at the UN Security Council. The letter focused on the progress made through the agreement signed by Brazil and Turkey with Iran on 17 May on exchanging slightly enriched uranium with nuclear fuel.
Lula pointed out in his letter that, by signing the Tehran Declaration, the Iranian Government agreed “in writing” to points it had rejected earlier. Lula also emphasized the Iranian decision to notify the agreement to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 24 May within the established deadline.
Lula’s letter to Obama is part of new efforts by the Brazilian Government to prevent a UN draft resolution imposing new sanctions on Iran from being voted and approved. According to the Itamaraty press office, Lula sent similar letters yesterday to Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev and to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Within the next few days, Lula will also send letters to Mexican President Felipe Calderon — whose country, like Brazil, is a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council — and to South American leaders. ‘
By the way, Arizona, just a note. Now might not have been an opportune time to anger the Mexicans, if you wanted their support on Iran.