Turkey, Brazil, and Iran: A Glimpse of the Future

The German Marshall Fund of the United States
May 21, 2010

WASHINGTON–It has been quite a week for diplomacy on Iran. On the eve of agreement on a new round of sanctions among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the leaders of Turkey and Brazil concluded a dramatic visit to Tehran, bringing back a fissile material exchange agreement aimed at ending the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement falls well short of what the United States and others are now seeking from Tehran, and it is unclear that it could ever have been implemented. In the meantime, key members of the Security Council have agreed on a draft sanctions resolution. This, too, falls well short of what the United States and some European allies would prefer, but it allows for Russian and Chinese support. These developments say a lot about the evolution of the international system, the role of emerging countries like Turkey and Brazil, and the nature of the Iranian nuclear challenge. Taken together, they offer a striking glimpse of the future.