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Brazil's President Welcomes Iranian Leader

President Lula da Silva says Iran should negotiate with the West for a 'just' solution to country's controversial nuclear program

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says Iran should negotiate with the West for a "just" solution to the country's controversial nuclear program.

The Brazilian leader made his comments Monday as he welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brasilia. 

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said Iran is engaging in what he called "subversive activity" in Latin America.

Iran has rejected Western charges that it is using a civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons.

The Iranian president's trip is part of a five-nation tour that has already taken him to the African nation of Gambia.  He is also expected to visit Bolivia and Venezuela before leaving South America and traveling on to Senegal.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's trip to Brazil follows visits to the South American country by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

On Sunday, nearly 1,000 protesters gathered in Rio de Janeiro to protest President Ahmadinejad's trip to Brazil.  The protesters represented a wide range of gay, Jewish, anti-racism and other activist groups.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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