| GEO World|
| UN rift widens over Brazil-Turkey deal with Iran|
| Updated at: 0040 PST, Friday, May 28, 2010|
BRASILIA: A bitter rift between the world's top powers led by the United States and emerging nations Brazil and Turkey widened Thursday as differences over how to tackle Iran's suspect nuclear program erupted into sharp exchanges.
Turkey accused critics of a deal brokered with Iran last week for a nuclear fuel swap of being "envious" of the "diplomatic success" it represented -- in an implicit swipe at the United States.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged "very serious disagreements" with Brazil over its insistence that the deal it helped to draw up be considered before a US push for new UN sanctions against Iran is decided.
The row threatens to split the UN Security Council, on which the United States sits as a permanent, veto-wielding member alongside temporary members Brazil and Turkey.
It also highlighted the growing assertiveness of Brazil, Latin America's biggest economy, and NATO member Turkey in carving out their own diplomatic tracks independently of the United States.
The United States accuses Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons under the cover of its atomic energy program, something Tehran denies.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in a joint media conference in Brasilia with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, slammed detractors of the May 17 deal they worked out with Tehran.
"The countries criticizing this accord are envious. Because Brazil and Turkey brokered and pulled off a diplomatic success that other countries had been negotiating without result for many years," he said.
He stated that Brazil and Turkey had "assumed the responsibility" that went with their seats on the UN Security Council.