February 24, 2010 / 8:29 PM / 8 years ago

Clinton seen pushing Iran on Latin America trip

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Latin America next week, including a visit to Brazil where she is expected to seek support for new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

The State Department said on Wednesday that Clinton’s February 28-March 5 trip would begin in Uruguay, where she is to attend the inauguration of incoming President Jose Mujica on March 1.

She will then travel to Chile, before moving on to Brazil for talks with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, a State Department statement said.

Brazil, which has been cool to the idea of new sanctions on Iran, currently holds one of the rotating non-permanent slots on the U.N. Security Council and is actively lobbying for a permanent seat.

The United States, along with other permanent members of the Security Council as well as Germany, are discussing possible new U.N. sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, which western powers fear is geared toward producing weapons.

Russia and China, which both hold veto power, are widely believed to be reluctant to move to new sanctions however, and U.S. officials have said Clinton would likely raise the Iran issue in Brazil, an influential voice in the developing world.

Clinton in December warned Latin American countries not to get too close to Iran, saying it was a “bad idea” that could have consequences.

After ending her first trip to South America as secretary of state, Clinton will fly to Costa Rica, where she will address an economic conference, and Guatemala, where she hopes to meet leaders of other Central American countries, the State Department said.

Reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Vicki Allen

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