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Why Iran’s Ahmadinejad is warmly welcomed in Brazil

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Andre Penner/AP

(Read caption) Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shakes hands with Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Monday in Brasilia.

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When Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – dubbed by US President Barack Obama “the most popular politician on earth” – hosted Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Brasília today, he was doing what Mr. Obama has taken heat for proposing: engage Iran without preconditions.

The difference? Mr. da Silva (known as Lula) "engaged" with a publicized series of hand clasps, smiles – and a prolonged embrace that his American counterpart presumably would avoid. (Watch the O Globo video here.)

It's the first visit by an Iranian president to Brazil. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s trip to the world’s fourth largest democracy – part of a five-country tour also slated to include Gambia, Senegal, Venezuela, and Bolivia – comes after Iran sank international hopes that it would follow through on a recent deal to ship most of its enriched uranium out of the country. On his Asia tour, Mr. Obama said Iran would face “consequences” if it did not show good faith.

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