Lula plans Iran visit to prevent a repeat of Iraq war
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he planned to visit Iran next month to prevent a "mistake" like the one that led to the invasion of Iraq, dpa reported.
"I am going there because I do not want the mistake that was made in Iraq to be repeated in Iran," he said, in comments that the state news agency ABR reproduced Friday.
Lula, who is set to visit Tehran on May 15, made the comments late Thursday, before members of Brazil's Arab community in Sao Paulo.
Lula noted that the war against Iraq sprang from a "lie" that was spread by the "great powers." Western leaders said at the time that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, although these were never found.
The Brazilian president said he intends to mediate between Iran and the countries that are suspicious of Iran's nuclear programme, and he stressed he seeks a peaceful exit to the crisis.
"I'm going there to tell (Iranian) President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, in Tehran: 'I am against you building nuclear weapons, but I am in favour of you enriching uranium like Brazil does, to produce nuclear energy,'" Lula said.
He again spoke for letting Brazil play a role in negotiations in the Middle Eastern conflict, and he also called for a more active role from the United Nations (UN) on the issue.
"Peace in the Middle East does not depend on the state of mind of the American government or of European governments, but is a necessity for humanity to leave in peace," Lula said.