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Brazil, Turkey try to hammer out 'last chance' Iran nuclear fuel swap deal

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew late Sunday to Tehran sounding bullish about a possible Iran nuclear fuel swap deal that could help Iran avoid another round of UN sanctions.

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Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (l.) and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attend an official meeting in Tehran to talk about an Iran nuclear fuel swap deal, Sunday.

Raheb Homavandi/Reuters

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Nuclear summitry between Iran, Brazil, and Turkey got underway in Tehran on Sunday, with no final result from what has been cast – from Washington to Moscow – as a “last chance” for Iran to avoid another set of United Nations sanctions.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was welcomed with a brass band, hailed as a “brother” by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and had a rare audience with Iran’s supreme religious leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

But even as Iranian state media made little mention of the nuclear issue – and cast the Brazilian leader’s visit as “mainly” about expanding Iran-Brazil ties – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew late Sunday to Tehran.

Turkish officials, frustrated after months of fruitless high-level negotiations with the Iranians to broker a compromise deal, had earlier ruled out a visit by the Turkish leader unless “something concrete” would emerge.

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