Commentary: Brazil's stance on Iran crisis dangerously obtuse

Even before visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could appeal for Brazil to support sanctions against Iran for breaking the rules of nuclear-weapons proliferation, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered this airy dismissal: "It is not prudent to push Iran against a wall."

What wall?

The United States and the world community have made a years-long effort to break down the barriers and engage Iran diplomatically about its nuclear program.

Iran's answer: Talk, talk; defy, defy.

It continued to play for time, engaging in "negotiations" even though its secret work to develop nuclear capability constituted an undeniable violation of U.N. rules

Former President George W. Bush, no shrinking violet in dealing with hostile regimes, offered Iran economic and diplomatic incentives (including talks with the United States) in exchange for playing by the international rules of nuclear development.

Iran's answer: No.

Then came President Obama, who offered an olive branch in his inaugural speech last year. "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

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