Obama asks Brazil to press Iran on nukes

Obama asks Brazil to press Iran on nukes

Obama asks Brazil to press Iran on nukes

The two leaders met for about 30 minutes on the sidelines of the G8 summit in the Italian city of L'Aquila and discussed issues like energy, climate, the political crisis in Honduras, global economic downturn and Iran, the White House said on Thursday.

Obama told Lula that the US is counting on Brazil, which has close commercial ties with Iran, to help convince the Islamic nation not to pursue a nuclear programme for military ends, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a press briefing.

He added that because of the "depth of those relationships ... Brazil can have an impact on reiterating ... that the Iranian government still has responsibilities to the international community as it relates to their weapons programme".

Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful power generation, but Western countries suspect its real intention is to develop nuclear weapons.

On Wednesday night, the world's leading industrialised nations - the US, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia - issued a statement recognising Iran's right to a civilian nuclear programme, but said Tehran must "restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities" and "fully cooperate" with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In their meeting, Obama thanked Lula for Brazil's efforts to seek a diplomatic solution in Honduras that permits President Mel Zelaya - deposed late last month in a military coup - to return to power.

The G8 Wednesday approved a statement in which the countries pledged to reduce heat-trapping carbon emissions by 80 percent and called on the developing nations to accept a 50 percent reduction.

Leading developing countries like India and China have rejected the emissions cut target proposed by the western countries.

Besides the G8 countries, five leading emerging economies, Brazil, Mexico, China, India, South Africa and Egypt are also participating in the summit.