Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Wednesday the international community should not "push Iran into a corner" over its nuclear program.
Lula, speaking before a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said, "It is not wise to push Iran into a corner. It is wise to establish negotiations."
Clinton's trip to Brazil was aimed at winning the support of Brazil - a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council - for moves to sanction Iran over its nuclear program, which Western powers fear is intended to produce atomic weapons.
Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Lula has voiced caution over the drive by several Security Council members - the United States, Britain and France - as well as Germany to impose new sanctions on Iran. Diplomats say they could come up for discussion soon.
The United States has been lobbying hard to win over Russia and China, which also hold veto power on the Security Council, as well as to build support among non-permanent members including Brazil and Turkey.
Lula told reporters after an event at the presidential palace that while Brazil supported more negotiation with Iran it would "not support any move by Iran to go beyond the peaceful use of nuclear energy."
'Frank discussion' with Iran
He added that he planned to have a "frank discussion" on the subject with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he visits Tehran in May.
Diplomats told Reuters this week that the Western powers had already prepared a draft proposal for a fourth round of sanctions against Iran for defying UN demands that it stop enriching uranium.
If the four Western powers win the support of Russia and China, negotiations on the first new UN sanctions resolution in two years could begin immediately.
Lula said Brazil, which has its own civilian nuclear program, believed it was possible to find "another way" to handle the Iran stand-off.