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. New Iran sanctions would be pointless: Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 28 (AFP) Nov 28, 2009
Brazil, which abstained from voting for an IAEA resolution censuring Iran's nuclear drive, said Saturday that fresh UN sanctions against Tehran would be pointless.

Brazil abstained from voting because "dialogue is better than confrontation," Brazil's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Antonio Guerreiro, told O Globo newspaper.

His comments came a day after the IAEA's 35-member board of governors adopted a resolution demanding that Iran halt construction of a new uranium enrichment facility near the Shiite holy city of Qom.

Uranium enrichment is the process used to make fuel for nuclear power plants, but it can also produce fissile material for an atomic bomb when extended as well as potentially supplying Tehran's medical research reactor.

Western powers have long suspected that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, although the Islamic republic denies the charge, and Tehran's disclosure in September of the previously secret new plant triggered widespread outrage.

"The resolution clear the way for sanctions... and sanctions don't lead to anything," Guerreiro said.

In February 2006, the IAEA referred Tehran to the UN Security Council over its refusal to suspend enrichment and agree to full IAEA inspections.

The new resolution will likewise be reported to the Security Council, which will decide whether to slap a fourth round of sanctions on Iran.

When Brazil takes up a non-permanent seat at the 15-member Security Council in January for a two-year term, "we will take advantage of that to help in the negotiations" with Iran, Guerreiro said, stressing that "no countries makes concessions under pressure."

The ambassador, who has represented Brazil at the IAEA since late 2006, warned that fresh sanctions on Tehran "will only lead to a hardening of the Iranian position."

There is "no evidence" Iran is building an atomic bomb and the standoff over the Islamic republic's nuclear drive is the result of "a mutual lack of confidence that has already lasted for quite some time," Guerreiro said.

During a brief visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brasilia on November 23, his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reaffirmed Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy.

But Lula also appealed to Ahmadinejad to "continue contacts with interested countries for a just and balanced solution on the nuclear issue."

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