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Brazil’s president met with Iranian leaders Sunday to try to broker a compromise in the international standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program, even as the U.S. says new sanctions are the only way to force Iran’s cooperation.

Luis Inacio Lula da Silva is trying to use Brazil’s friendly relations with Iran to show it can be a fair, neutral broker in the escalating dispute. Since evidence of a clandestine Iranian nuclear program first emerged in 2003, negotiations with world powers and visits by U.N. inspectors have failed to persuade the U.S. and its allies that Iran is not pursuing a weapons capability.

“It’s more difficult for someone who has nuclear weapons to ask someone not to develop nuclear weapons,” Silva said in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV on Saturday. “It’s easier for someone who does not carry nuclear weapons, like myself, to ask for that.” AP

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