Can US Take 'Yes' for an Answer on Lula's Iran Mediation?

It's "Gollllllll!" for Lula Against Western Push for Iran Sanctions

If I were in Washington this morning, I would run down Pennsylvania
Avenue from the White House to Congress with a big Brazilian flag, as
the young Brazilians run down the Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo during
the the "football" match, shouting "Gollllllll!"

Because with the news
this morning
that Iran has agreed to ship most of its enriched
uranium to Turkey, in a nuclear fuel swap deal reached in talks with
Brazil and Turkey that could "deflate a U.S.-led push" for new
sanctions against Iran, the President of Brazil has scored a goal
against the neocons in the West who want to gin up confrontation with
Iran towards a future military conflict.


Iran agreed Monday to ship most of its enriched uranium to
Turkey in a nuclear fuel swap deal that could ease the international
standoff over the country's disputed nuclear program and deflate a
U.S.-led push for tougher sanctions.

The deal was reached in talks with Brazil and Turkey, elevating a new
group of mediators for the first time in the dispute over Iran's
nuclear activities. The agreement was nearly identical to a
U.N.-drafted plan that Washington and its allies have been pressing
Tehran for the past six months to accept in order to deprive Iran - at
least temporarily - of enough stocks of enriched uranium to produce a
nuclear weapon.

If the deal is "nearly identical" to the plan that the U.S. has been
pressing, then we should all be celebrating, right?

Not the right-wing German government, apparently.

The key question is whether the agreement fulfills the
demands that the U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Agency has
made of Tehran, German government spokesman Christoph Steegmans said.

Steegmans noted that the point remains whether Iran suspends
enrichment of nuclear material at home, raising a possible sticking
point since the agreement reaffirmed Tehran's right to enrichment
activities for peaceful purposes.

But the demand that Iran suspend the enrichment of nuclear material
was never part of the fuel swap deal, and indeed the whole point of
the fuel swap deal was to deescalate tensions around Iran's growing
stockpile of enriched uranium without recourse to the politically
unachievable demand that Iran suspend enrichment of uranium. Everyone
involved in the diplomacy knows that "suspension of enrichment"
crosses a red line for the Iranians, so saying that the deal is no
good because it doesn't require Iran to suspend the enrichment of
uranium is like saying the deal is no good because it doesn't require
Iranian leaders to eat pork on Iranian TV at noon during Ramadan.

The main difference between the deal Iran has just agreed to and the
U.N.-drafted version, AP reports, is that if Iran does not
receive the fuel rods for its medical research reactor within a year,
Turkey will be required to "quickly and unconditionally" return the
uranium to Iran. Iran had feared that under the initial U.N. deal, if
a swap fell through, its uranium stock could be seized permanently. If
the West is operating in good faith, then this difference between the
agreements shouldn't matter.


Iran dropped an earlier demand for the fuel exchange to
happen in stages and is now willing to ship abroad its nuclear
material in a single batch. It also dropped an insistence that the
exchange happen inside Iran as well as a request to receive the fuel
rods right away.

"There is no ground left for more sanctions or pressure," Turkey's
Foreign Minister said.

That should be true on the merits, but it's a safe bet that the
"anti-peace, pro-Israel" lobby in Washington isn't going to see it
that way.

How will the Obama Administration see it?

On Friday, Secretary of State Clinton predicted that Lula's mediation
effort would fail.

Now the Obama Administration has to choose. Does it really want a
deal? Can it take "yes" for an answer?

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