January 8th, 2012
12:11 AM ET

Iran's president looks to Latin America as global sanctions grow

Beef from Brazil is on Iranian dinner tables. An Iranian-built hospital treats patients near Bolivia's capital. Iranian-funded factories dot the Venezuelan countryside.

Iran has forged hundreds of agreements with Latin American nations and pledged billions of dollars to fund them.

More deals could be in store this week as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad embarks on a trip that starts in Venezuela on Sunday and includes stops in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Cuba.

Well before the Iranian leader's arrival in Caracas, his plans for a Latin America tour grabbed global attention as tensions grow between many Western powers and Iran over the nation's nuclear program.

"As the regime feels increasing pressure, it is desperate for friends and flailing around in interesting places to find new friends," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Friday.

But analysts say Ahmadinejad's visit is the latest step in a longstanding, calculated effort to shore up support in the region.

As Iran strives to improve its image, get around stiffening sanctions, dampen America's global influence and secure a stronger foothold in the United States' backyard, relationships with Latin American countries have become increasingly important.

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Filed under: Iran • U.S. • World
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Lwg

    Do help latin america but we must hold back on our sanctions because they are a world threart

    January 8, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pete/Ark

    When you're these most disliked child on the block (including the little jewish kid on the corner) it's natural that you might try to find friends a couple of streets away. It might work for a while,but eventually they too will figure out why nobody on your street wants anything to do with you. It's tough to keep friends when you just can't behave properly.

    January 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. José Henrique

    Oh, God... Americans will NEVER understand Latin America. Articles like this one reveal how north america ignores COMPLETELY its neighbours... Do you really believe that Brazil (the 6TH LARGEST ECONOMY, 5TH LARGEST COUNTRY) depends on a crazy guy of the middle east?

    Ok, if you believe that Brazil is a island full of monkeys and favelas, with people speaking spanish and dancing "la cucaracha", don´t need to say more: You are american!

    January 9, 2012 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |

    if your hen is RICK YOUNG and he is in OSIRIS, why doesn't somebody do something besides ACE?
    GERRIZZO is.
    He's a THREART, after all!

    January 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |