Brazilian Jews urge president to avoid Ahmadinejad meeting

Dilma Rousseff

Dilma Rousseff

Delegates representing Brazilian Jews have called on the nation's president not to meet Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his upcoming visit to the country.

President Ahmadinejad is travelling to Brazil next week for a United Nations summit on sustainable development, prompting fears in the Jewish community that Dilma Rousseff will give credibility to Ahmadinejad's regime by giving him an official reception.

The members of Brazil's umbrella organisation for Jewish communities, ConfederaĆ§Ć£o Israelita do Brasil (CONIB), made their feelings clear to Antonio Patriota, the Brazilian foreign minister, in a meeting last week.

Representatives explained that their opposition stemmed from concerns over Iran's nuclear programme, as well as their disgust with Ahmadinejad's views on the Holocaust and his government's repressive actions against critics and minorities.

Brazilian Congressman Walter Feldman has also expressed his dismay at the Iranian president's visit, telling Congress last week that Ahmadinejad is a "danger to Brazil and south America", and appealing to the government to deny him entry to the country.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has requested a meeting with Ms Rousseff, but it is thought that no such event will take place, as relations between Tehran and Brasilia have cooled since she was voted into office. During her term, Brazil has supported a UN investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Iran, and also condemned Iranian plans to stone to death Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman convicted of adultery.

Last updated: 11:50am, June 12 2012