Brazil seeks to maintain good relations with both Israel and Iran, and not get involved in the complexities of the Middle East, legislator Arolde de Oliveira said on Wednesday.

Oliveira, a member of Brazil’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, supports Brasilia’s continued trade with the Islamic Republic, which reached $2.33 billion in 2011.

Oliveira, along with 24 other parliamentarians from 17 nations, are in Jerusalem for the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation’s conference of pro-Israel members of national legislatures around the world. They were briefed on the Iranian nuclear threat and participated in a panel to seek a solution to the issue.

According to Oliveira, however, Iran’s nuclear capabilities pose no threats.

“The Brazilian government’s understanding is that Iran is not constructing nuclear weapons,” he said. “The technology they are developing is only for civilian purposes.”

In 2010 Brazil voted in the UN against sanctions on Iran, and signed a fuel-swap deal with Tehran.

Oliveira said he was of the opinion that Brazil should not sell radioactive minerals to Iran, but emphasized the importance of commercial ties.

“Our relations with Iran are good for economic purposes.

They have oil and they buy commercial products from Brazil,” the parliamentarian explained. “We have nothing against Israel – on the contrary.”

According to Oliveira, Brazil has better relations with Israel than with Iran because the South American nation is Christian, and as such shares values with the Jewish state.

He emphasized that Israel was the only true democracy in the Middle East and had freedom of religion and expression, like in his own country.

“Brazil is trying to maintain balance in its foreign policies in the Middle East,” he stated.

“The issues are complex and Brazil is unable to understand the problems in the region.

We just want good relations and an absence of war.”

Rather than sanction Iran, Oliveira suggested that democracies around the world work together to “create mechanisms controlling the development of nuclear weapons.” Ideally, those mechanisms would be coordinated by the UN.

“If we have a non-nuclear weapon zone in the Middle East we can guarantee the absence of war,” Oliveira posited. “If countries agree [not to develop nuclear weapons], we can start a period of peace, and dialog can move to other questions, like religious ones.”

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