By Marcela Canavarro, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – While Brazil hasn’t questioned Iran’s election results, the Brazilian External Relations Ministry’s official position is to respect the decision announced by Iranian authorities that confirmed Ahmadinejad as president. Minister Celso Amorim affirmed that Iran has its own voting system and that the country should decide on its own behalf.
“It’s not up to Brazil telling Iran what to do”, said Amorim.
The Brazilian government emphasized that Iran’s reaction to the presidential election is a signal of democratic life in the country. Lula’s Foreign Affairs adviser, Professor Marco Aurelio Garcia, also confirmed that Brazil is expecting Ahmadinejad’s visit.
“The fundamental information is that it was an election with strong social involvement. More than 70% of population voted. This is not typical in Iran. We’ve seen people who didn’t agree with the results at debates and demonstrations at the streets. That’s a good sign,” said Garcia.
Brazil has been trying to tighten relations with Iran as it is an important commercial partner in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad was set to visit Brazil last May but canceled his trip to step up efforts for the Iranian election, which took place a few weeks later. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva affirmed he’s planning to visit Iran next year and that he’s convinced that election fraud didn’t occur.
“Iran is not the first country where there are protests after elections. It seems that President Ahmadinejad won with 61% or 62%, it’s a huge assumption to think there was fraud,” Lula said at a press conference in Geneva last week. “I think it’s impossible to manipulate 30% of the votes. Those protests are an expression of those who lost. I myself have been at these kinds of protests,” he added, highlighting he’s also been a defeated candidate.
Lula reminded the press that George W. Bush’s reelection in the US was also questioned and hinted that the world’s skepticism about the Iranian elections has an ideological motivation.
“There must be something else in the world that I would like explanations about. Recently there were elections in Mexico and the difference was 1%,” he said, citing the contested victory of the right-wing party in 2006. “Some people who are criticizing Iran are now being asked to respect the results in Mexico. We can’t ever forget about Bush’s election. The world accepted the result despite all doubts.”