With President Obama about to travel to Brazil [March 19], it looks as though Brazil’s new president may be keen to show a change in direction in regard to Iran and the United States. Days ago, off of the radar screen of most of the world, Brazil’s new government took the bold decision to dissociate itself from its past policy of looking the other way when Tehran commits human rights abuses by holding a lunch with Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Iranian dissident Shirin Ebadi. This editorial from Brazil’s Estadao expresses relief that President Dilma Rousseff is planning to protect human rights in word and deed, and is dispensing with ‘parading its anti-Americanism around the world.’
The Estadao editorial says in part:
Sensing the winds shift in relations between Brasília and Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview with this newspaper that his government will be “very disappointed” if Brazil changes its position at the United Nations in regard to Iran. He spoke, of course, of what may be the new Brazilian attitude to condemn Iranian theocracy for its human rights violations and vote in favor of an international investigation on the matter, as opposed to the line followed during the Lula years.
That was in Geneva ten days ago, at the beginning of the 16th regular session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is expected to rule on complaints against Iran within the next three weeks. But Tehran already has reason to be disappointed with Brazil. Last Monday, in an unprecedented move, the country’s ambassador had lunch at U.N. headquarters in Geneva with the Iranian who, more than anyone else, embodies the struggle of her fellow citizens against the violence they are subjected to under the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – particularly since the demonstrations unleashed against the election fraud that returned him to power in 2009.
The person was exiled dissident Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peach Prize. With this act, evidently agreed on between our ambassador in Geneva, Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo, and the Foreign Ministry, Brazil crossed a red line. The government of President Dilma Rousseff no longer advertises in word alone that it is disassociating itself from Lula’s complacency: It is confronting atrocities committed by despotic regimes with which Brazil is aligned in a clumsy attempt to parade its anti-Americanism around the world, which, after all, only served to shame Brazil.
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