Amid threats of an Israeli attack against Iran, Brazil’s president said Friday he has planned a visit to the country to prevent a “mistake” that was the prelude to the invasion of Iraq.
“I am going there because I do not want the mistake that was made in Iraq to be repeated in Iran,” President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said, in comments reproduced by the state news agency ABR, DPA reported.
Lula, who has scheduled a two-day visit to Tehran on May 15, said the Iraq war stemmed from a “lie” spread by world powers.
In 2003, Britain and the US led a campaign to win support for the invasion of the oil-rich country under the pretext that the regime of former dictator Saddam Hussein had produced weapons of mass destruction — a claim that has been refuted by the US Army, which has continued its presence in Iraq since the attack.
President Lula, who was addressing members of Brazil’s Arab community in Sao Paulo, said he intended to mediate between Iran and the countries that are suspicious of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program to seek a peaceful solution to the long-lasting dispute.
Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, says its nuclear work is civilian. The West, however, accuses it of seeking an atomic bomb in an alleged covert nuclear program.
The UN nuclear watchdog, meanwhile, says there is no diversion in Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
“I’m going there to tell (Iranian) President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, in Tehran: ‘I am against you building nuclear weapons, but I am in favor of you enriching uranium like Brazil does, to produce nuclear energy,'” Lula said.
The remarks come as Israel, which alleges that a nuclear Iran would spell the end of the regime, has long threatened to launch military strikes against Iranian nuclear sites, should Tehran continue with its enrichment program.
Uranium enrichment allows Iran to produce fuel for its under-construction nuclear power plants, as well as its medical research reactor in Tehran.