Photo: Dilma Rousseff Distances her Government from the Iranian Regime
In a speech that got her a standing ovation, the Brazilian President vowed to protect human rights before an audience of holocaust survivors in Rio Grande do Sul.
“My government will be a tireless defender of equality and human rights in any part of the world” she said. “We are not a nation that hates, or a nation that respects hate and this is why Brazil has a historic position that we are proud of.”
The president’s speech to the Brazilian Israeli Confederation was interpreted as a clear radical change in Brazilian foreign policy toward Iran, taking into consideration the strong ties with Tehran established by former president Lula during his time as president, specially within his second term.
Claudio Lottenberg, president of the Brazilian Israeli Confederation, said that “As leader of a community that is intensively engaged in the Brazilian life, I have the moral duty to align with those who preserve democracy and those who fight against the intolerant. Ms. President, you know better than all of us what it means to be tortured and have your right to expression subtracted.”
The regime of Mahmud Ahmadineyad executes homosexuals, denies the holocaust, and gives the death penalty to adulterous women—most recently Sakineh Ashtianí.
Rousseff sees Brazil as a nation “composed by values that respect two large principles: Peace and Conciliation.” Earlier this month, Mrs. Rousseff told the Washington Post that she would reconsider the position of her government toward the Iranian regime:
(Washington Post) So, will that affect your policy toward Iran, for example? Why is Brazil supporting a country that allows people to be stoned, that jails journalists?
(Dilma Rousseff) I believe that it is necessary for us to make a differentiation in [what we mean when we refer to Iran]. I consider [important] the strategy of building peace in the Middle East. What we see in the Middle East is the bankruptcy of a policy - of a war policy. We are talking about Afghanistan and the disaster that was the invasion of Iraq. We did not manage to build peace, nor did we manage to solve Iraq’s problems. Iraq today is in civil war. Every day soldiers on both sides die. To try to build peace and not to go to war is the best way.
[But] I do not endorse stoning. I do not agree with practices that have medieval characteristics [when it comes] to women. There is no nuance; I will not make any concessions on that matter.
Lottenberg added that he is glad to know that Rousseff has a different position regarding Iran than her successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who personally befriended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and never openly condemned Iran’s disrespect of human rights.