Imagine you were born in Tehran. In your first geography class the teacher shows that your country, Iran, is one of the richest in the world with the third greatest petroleum reserve on the planet. Then, he opens a map. On each side are two countries occupied by the United States: Afghanistan and Iraq. Above and below, three nuclear powers: India, Pakistan and Russia.
To the right is China, hungry for natural resources. To the left is Israel, which has enough warheads to wipe-out the entire population of Tehran. The obvious conclusion: Iran is vulnerable. The plausible conclusion: the country might need atomic weapons.
Now put yourself in a history class. The teacher might tell you that Iran is a theocracy because in 1953 a democratic leader, Mohammad Mossaddegh, was overthrown via a coup financed by the CIA. What was his crime? He nationalized petroleum. After this, the White House installed the same Shahs into power that, in 1979, had been overthrown by the Ayatollahs. The teacher would also say that, in the eighties, neighboring Iraq sought to have the atomic bomb as a deterrent against Israel and to build a new nuclear balance in the region. The Iraqi project, supported by Brazil, fell apart in 1981 when Israel bombed the Osirak reactor — giving rise to the idea of preemptive strikes that was later used by the United States in 2003 to invade Iraq in search of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction — when what they wanted was clearly oil.
This is the geopolitical context that preceded President Lula’s trip to Persia — as the Foreign Ministry of Brazil knows well. Thus, it does not make sense that Brazil is being naive or is being used by the Ayatollahs’ regime as the Americans say. The reality, plain and simple, is the following: Iran wants the bomb and is hiding their real intentions, and Brazil supports this. The question that should be raised is something else: is it right or wrong? It is too early to tell. The nuclear balance, in many cases, has been an instrument of peace. India and Pakistan only refrain from attacking one another because both have the bomb — and, of all the nuclear powers, the only one to exercise that power is the one that detonated the weapon of mass destruction over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It is possible that in the future Lula’s gesture in Tehran will be known as ground zero of the new global order, despite the reaction of the United States and other countries that still defend sanctions against Iran. The world has entered into a new era that is multi-polar, post-American, and has many protagonists — like Brazil. And even critics of the external policy followed by the Foreign Ministry (like this writer) are forced to admit — it is due to the courage and daring of Lula, a man that will probably receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The Time Person of the Year tried to sabotage Uncle Sam. A new world may yet be born.