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PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LETTER TO PRESIDENT LULA ON THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR ISSUE THE WHITE HOUSE Washington April 20, 2010 His Excellency Luiz Inلcio Lula da Silva President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Brasيlia Dear Mr. President: I want to than

Posted by alanmirs on May 28, 2010




April 20, 2010


Luiz Inلcio
Lula da Silva

of the Federative Republic of Brazil


Dear Mr. President:

I want to thank you for our meeting with Turkish
Prime Minister Erdogan during the Nuclear Security Summit. We spent some time
focused on Iran, the issue of the provision of nuclear fuel for the Tehran
Research Reactor (TRR), and the intent of Brazil and Turkey to work toward
finding an acceptable solution. I promised to respond in detail to your ideas. I
have carefully considered our discussion, and I would like to offer a detailed
explanation of my perspective and suggest a way ahead.

I agree with you that the TRR is an opportunity
to pave the way for a broader dialogue in dealing with the more fundamental
concerns of the international community regarding Iran’s overall nuclear program
From the beginning, I have viewed Iran’ s request as a clear and tangible
opportunity to begin to build mutual trust and confidence, and thereby create
time and space for a constructive diplomatic process That is why the United
States so strongly supported the proposal put forth by former International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General EIBaradei.

The IAEA’s proposal was crafted to be fair and
balanced, and for both sides to gain trust and confidence. For us, Iran’s
agreement to transfer 1,200 kg of Iran’s low enriched uranium (LEU) out of the
country would build confidence and reduce regional tensions by substantially
reducing Iran’s LEU stockpile. I want to underscore that this element is of
fundamental importance for the United States. For Iran, it would receive the
nuclear fuel requested to ensure continued operation of the TRR to produce
needed medical isotopes and, by using its own material, Iran would begin to
demonstrate peaceful nuclear intent. Notwithstanding Iran’s continuing defiance
of five United Nations Security Council resolutions mandating that it cease its
enrichment of uranium, we were prepared to support and facilitate action on a
proposal that would provide Iran nuclear fuel using uranium enriched by Iran — a
demonstration of our willingness to be creative in pursuing a way to build
mutual confidence.

During the course of the consultations, we also
recognized Iran’s desire for assurances. As a result, my team focused on
ensuring that the lAEA’s proposal contained several built-in measures, including
a U.S. national declaration of support, to send a clear signal from my
government of our willingness to become a direct signatory and potentially even
play a more direct role in the fuel production process, a central role for
Russia, and the IAEA’s assumption of full custody of the nuclear material
throughout the fuel production process. In effect, the IAEA’s proposal offered
Iran significant and substantial assurances and commitments from the IAEA, the
United States, and Russia. Dr. EI Baradei stated publicly last year that the
United States would be assuming the vast majority of the risk in the IAEA’s

As we discussed, Iran appears to be pursuing a
strategy that is designed to create the impression of flexibility without
agreeing to actions that can begin to build mutual trust and confidence. We have
observed Iran convey hints of flexibility to you and others, but formally
reiterate an unacceptable position through official channels to the IAEA. Iran
has continued to reject the IAEA’s proposal and insist that Iran retain its
low-enriched uranium on its territory until delivery of nuclear fuel. This is
the position that Iran formally conveyed to the IABA in January 2010 and again
in February.

We understand from you, Turkey and others that
Iran continues to propose that Iran would retain its LEU on its territory until
there is a simultaneous exchange of its LEU for nuclear fuel. As General Jones
noted during our meeting, it will require one year for any amount of nuclear
fuel to be produced. Thus, the confidence-building strength of the IAEA’s
proposal would be completely eliminated for the United States and several risks
would emerge. First, Iran would be able to continue to stockpile LEU throughout
this time, which would enable them to acquire an LEU stockpile equivalent to the
amount needed for two or three nuclear weapons n a year’ s time. Second, there
would be no guarantee that Iran would ultimately agree to the final exchange.
Third, IAEA "custody" of lran’s LEU inside of Iran would provide us no
measurable improvement over the current situation, and the IAEA cannot prevent
Iran from re-assuming control of its uranium at any time.

There is a potentially important compromise that
has already been offered. Last November, the IAEA conveyed to Iran our offer to
allow Iran to ship its 1,200 kg of LEU to a third country — specifically Turkey
— at the outset of the process·to be held "in escrow" as a guarantee during the
fuel production process that Iran would get back its uranium if we failed to
deliver the fuel. Iran has never pursued the "escrow" compromise and has
provided no credible explanation for its rejection. I believe that this raises
real questions about Iran’s nuclear intentions, if Iran is unwilling to accept
an offer to demonstrate that its LEU is for peaceful, civilian purposes. I would
urge Brazil to impress upon Iran the opportunity presented by this offer to
"escrow" its uranium in Turkey while the nuclear fuel is being

Throughout this process, instead of building
confidence Iran has undermined confidence in the way it has approached this
opportunity. That is why I question whether Iran is prepared to engage Brazil in
good faith, and why I cautioned you during our meeting. To begin a constructive
diplomatic process, Iran has to convey to the IAEA a constructive commitment to
engagement through official channels — something it has failed to do. Meanwhile,
we will pursue sanctions on the timeline that I have outlined. I have also made
clear that I will leave the door open to engagement with Iran. As you know, Iran
has thus far failed to accept my offer of comprehensive and unconditional

I look forward to the next opportunity to see you
and discuss these issues as we consider the challenge of Iran’s nuclear program
to the security of the international community, including in the U.N. Security


Barack Obama






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