While the United States has focused its attention on Iranian activities in the Middle East, Iran is working to expand its influence in Latin America.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is trying to strengthen the anti-American bloc of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, and Nicaragua and is tightening its ties with Brazil. Iran has now financed new port facilities in Nicaragua to the tune of $350 million; and has given Bolivia $1 million in economic aid, and opened a Bolivian embassy in Tehran[1]. This support has been translated into reciprocal support for Iran's nuclear program.

Iran's presence in Latin America, however, goes back to the 1990s. Terrorists with connections to Iran are responsible for the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, and a Jewish community center there in 1994. In 2006, former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was charged with ordering and masterminding those attacks.

Recently, Ahmadinejad said that the Islamic Republic "gives high priority to expanding its relations with all the Latin American nations." Even though the Obama administration expressed concern over Iran's growing influence in Latin America - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that it was "a really bad idea" - no clear policy was drawn.

From the Iranian Press:

  • Ecuador not to let third parties interfere in ties with Iran
  • Iran hopes to forge closer ties with Nicaragua
  • Brazil says Tehran Declaration can solve dispute between Iran, West
  • Iranian President, Brazilian FM Meet in New York
  • Iran, Cuba aim to bolster ties
  • Ahmadinejad underlines Iran-Bolivia Resistance against 'Arrogant Powers'
  • 'Iran, Latin America ties a priority'; Expansion of ties between Iran and Peru

September 30, 2010

Ecuador not to let third parties interfere in ties with Iran

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa underscored that Quito will not allow other countries to interfere in that country's relations with Iran. Correa made these remarks in a telephone conversation with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Ecuadorian president went on to say that Iran and Ecuador should seize the existing opportunities for promotion of bilateral cooperation. Ahmadinejad, for his part, called for fostering bilateral and brotherly ties between the two countries, and said nothing can separate the two nations from one another. Fars News Agency (Iran)

September 28, 2010

Iran hopes to forge closer ties with Nicaragua

Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, on the sidelines of the 65th conference of the UN General Assembly in New York, had a meeting with Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez. Mottaki elaborated on Iran's potentialities in different areas and expressed hope for forging closer ties with Nicaragua. Press TV (Iran)

September 24, 2010

Brazil says Tehran Declaration can solve dispute between Iran, West

Foreign Minister of Brazil Celso Amorim suggested that the Tehran Declaration could help resolve the nuclear dispute between Iran and the West. Based on the Tehran Declaration, signed between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil on May 17, Iran would ship 1200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms of 20% enriched nuclear fuel rods to power the Tehran research reactor, which produces radioisotopes for cancer treatment. Amorim, who was addressing the United Nations General Assembly session in New York, complained that the 5+1 group did not heed the Tehran Declaration and instead adopted a new resolution against Iran. Mehr News (Iran)

September 23, 2010

Iranian President, Brazilian FM Meet in New York

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim held a meeting to discuss bilateral relations and the latest regional and international developments. Amorim expressed hope that the future negotiations of Iran and members of the Group 5+1 would be fruitful. Fars News Agency (Iran)

September 22, 2010

Iran, Cuba aim to bolster ties

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls for bolstering ties with Cuba, noting that the two countries have enjoyed sustained ties for more than three decades. Ahmadinejad made the remarks in a meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's annual session in New York. Press TV (Iran)

September 22, 2010

Ahmadinejad underlines Iran-Bolivia Resistance against 'Arrogant Powers'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated that Iran and Bolivia are on the same front in their resistance against the expansionist policies of the arrogant powers. Iran and Bolivia enjoy deep friendly relations and we are ready to develop ties with the country in various sectors, including agriculture, trade and industry, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Bolivian ministries. Fars News Agency (Iran)

August 24, 2010

'Iran, Latin America ties a priority;' Expansion of ties between Iran and Peru

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Islamic Republic gives high priority to expanding its relations with all the Latin American nations. President Ahmadinejad made the remarks at a meeting with the new Peruvian accredited ambassador to Iran, Javier Paolini Velarde. "There is a great potential for expansion of mutual ties (between Iran and Peru) which can be employed to the interests of the two nations". Press TV (Iran)

[1] Can Iran Beat the Sanctions?, Amani Maged, Al-Ahram Weekly, 23-29 September, 2010

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