The revolving-door diplomacy with the biggest foes in the Middle East underlined Brazil's ambitions to play a mediating role in that region, part of its aspirations of an international profile to match its growing economic heft.
It also marked Israel's efforts to try to counter Iran's increasing influence in Latin America, particularly the Islamic republic's friendly ties with major military powers Brazil and Venezuela.
Peres started his four-day visit to Brazil -- the first by an Israeli head of state to the country in 43 years -- by meeting Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim.
He was to see Lula on Wednesday, before stopping by Sao Paulo on Thursday to boost bilateral business ties, and going to Rio de Janeiro on Friday. After Brazil, Peres was to fly to Argentina.
Peres was to discuss "the Iranian infiltration into South America," a spokeswoman told AFP.
Israel has called Brazil's decision to welcome Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on November 23 a "mistake," and wants Lula to use his influence to get Tehran to abandon its nuclear development program.
But Lula has stood by Iran, saying it has a right to peaceful atomic power. In a September interview with AFP, the Brazilian leader said firmly he was against sanctions on Iran.
By coincidence or not, Iran's embassy held a news conference on the first day of Peres's visit to talk up the diplomatic and trade mission Ahmadinejad was bringing.
"There are several areas where we want to develop investment. One of the projects calls for the purchase of land in Brazil so that companies can produce soy and maize to supply the Iranian market and probably other countries," Ambassador Mohsen Shaterzadeh said.
Cooperation in the areas of technology, oil production and space exploration was also to be discussed, he said.
Ahmadinejad was also to set up a reciprocal visit to Tehran in the first half of 2010 by Lula, Shaterzadeh said.
He added that Peres's visit "does not affect us in any way -- it is the exclusive right of Brazil to organize its international relations."(AFP)
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