"Diplomacy emerged victorious," Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared on May 17, after his country and Turkey signed its sketchy nuclear deal with Iran. That was something of a reach. But, if not victorious, diplomacy was taking a rare turn on center stage...

The deal, which is similar to one scuttled in October 2009, was in all likelihood designed to forestall a new round of sanctions. In this regard, it doesn't appear to have worked.

The Obama administration announced Tuesday morning that it has struck a deal with other major powers, including Russia and China, to impose new sanctions on Iran, a sharp repudiation of the deal Tehran offered just a day before to ship its nuclear fuel out of the country.

A French court ordered the release on Tuesday of an Iranian who was serving a life sentence for the 1991 murder of Iran's last prime minister under the Shah, the convicted man's lawyer said.

China welcomed a nuclear fuel swap deal Iran announced after talks with Brazil and Turkey and urged negotiations over the dispute, but Western powers rejected the deal as too little to halt momentum for sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened top advisers Tuesday to assess an Iranian nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil that may stall the new U.N. sanctions Israel seeks against Tehran, officials said. The unscheduled inner cabinet meeting, accompanied by an announcement from Netanyahu's office that ministers were under orders to withhold public comment, reflected Israel's worries about the efficacy of foreign efforts to negotiate with Iran.

May 17, 2010

Two leaders from two big regional powers, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, took a risk in traveling to Iran and negotiating over the country's contentious nuclear programme. Many said they would fail.

The new British government strongly backs efforts to enact UN Security Council sanctions on Iran aimed at the Islamic state’s nuclear activities, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday.