Wiesenthal Center: Brazil President Should Embrace International Sanctions, Not Iran’s Illegitimate Leader

November 24, 2009


The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the reception granted to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Brasilia by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who defended Iranian nuclear aspirations while Ahmadinejad, in turn, backed Brazil’s proposal for a reform of the UN Security Council which would include the Latin American country as a permanent member. In a photo released today, the Brazilian is shown hugging Ahmadinejad.

“The Center is deeply distressed that a world-class leader like President Lula embraced Ahmadinejad, a man guilty of incitement to genocide and a serial Holocaust denier,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center. “The Iranian regime has sent an explicit message to the world community that will continue to pursue its nuclearization program with impunity,” he added.

Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Wiesenthal Center, said, “The memory of the victims of Iranian-backed terrorism in Buenos Aires has been desecrated by such a warm welcome. President Lula has debased himself by this association with this genocidist and oppressor of his own people. Fortunately, Brazilian civil society widely condemned this visit.”

“Brazil’s aspirations for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council lose legitimacy by providing a platform to a Holocaust denier who proclaims his intentions to wipe a member of the international community, the State of Israel, off the map,” said Sergio Widder, who represents the Center in Latin America. “Brazil has permitted a sponsor of terror, already implanted in the Americas, to violate the ‘Declaration Against Anti-Semitism’ signed in Costa Do Sauipe in December ‘08 –thus endangering the entire MERCOSUR (South American Common Market). With this friendly welcome, Brazil is losing moral authority among nations,” he added.

“The only way that Brazil can regain its moral authority and make a positive contribution to peace is by standing in solidarity with the brave Iranians who, against all odds, continue to publicly demand democracy,” said Rabbi Cooper. “Brazil should embrace the proposed international sanctions as the only peaceful means of thwarting Iran’s dangerous agenda,” he concluded.

One month ago, the Wiesenthal Center requested to Foreign Minister Celso Amorim that Brazil, as elected non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2010-2011, contributes to contain the threats by the Iranian regime.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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