Last updated: 14 October, 2012

Peres tells Brazil to boycott Iran’s Ahmadinejad

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday told Brazil’s foreign minister his country should boycott Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the future, Peres’s office said.

“We expect Brazil to boycott future meetings with Ahmadinejad,” Peres was quoted as saying to visiting Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota in a statement.

In 2010 Brazil’s then president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met Ahmadinejad and helped broker a nuclear trade-off under which Iran would deposit a significant part of its low-enriched uranium stocks in Turkey in return for nuclear fuel enriched to a level sufficient for medical use, but not enough for military ends.

Israel at the time criticised the deal as liable to “radically complicate” sanctions efforts against Iran

“When we met in 2010 I told former president Lula that it was a mistake to sit and talk with Ahmadinejad, a leader that threatens the destruction of a people, a leader that denies the Holocaust and a leader that funds international terrorism,” Peres told Patriota.

The Brazilian minister was quoted as saying he was present at the meeting with Ahmadinejad in Tehran and that Lula had made it clear he opposes Holocaust denial and believes strongly in peace and a nuclear-weapons free Middle East.

Israel and much of the international community believes Iran’s nuclear programme masks a weapons drive, a charge Tehran denies.

The Jewish state, the Middle East’s sole, if undeclared, nuclear power, has said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel and will not rule out military action to prevent Tehran obtaining such arms.

“Do not be mistaken, Iran is developing nuclear weapons. The Iranian nuclear threat casts a heavy shadow over the whole region,” Peres told Patriota.

“All the options must be on the table, we would all prefer to solve the problem through negotiations or economic sanctions but if those methods fail the military option will remain and will be serious and credible.

The statement quoted Patriota as telling Peres that “Brazil sees with great concern Israel’s threats to attack Iran,” and that “these threats and their potential future consequences are dangerous to the stability of the Middle East.”