#Iran’s South American Connections


Useful summary from Just the Facts following Ahmadinejad’s visit to Latin America last week helps to provide some of the detail for this post. His trip to attend the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil and solidify relationships in the region was a chance to assess how Iranian foreign policy is evolving in response to the changing political scene in Latin America. During his visit, Ahmadinejad made stops in Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela.

In his 2011 Worldwide Threat Assessment (PDF), Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper noted that Iran continues to reach out to Latin America as a way to diminish its international isolation and bypass international sanctions. So far, Iranian relations with Latin America have only developed significantly with leftists governments that oppose U.S. leadership in the world, particularly Venezuela, Bolivia, and other ALBA members, as well as with Brazil.

Touching reunion – Ahmadinejad with Chavez in Caracas

The U.S. State Department reacted to the recent trip with characteristic rhetoric, saying Ahmadinejad was “looking for friends in wrong places.”


  • The relationship between Bolivia and Iran has been increasingly friendly over the past few years. In 2007, trade and energy agreements were signed between the two countries and then extended in 2010. Bolivian President Evo Morales was also publicly reported praising Iranian investment by FARS news agency in 2007 and stated that his country “relies very much on Iran’s aids.”
  • On this trip, Ahmadinejad was keen to highlight the similarities between the two countries. According to Ahmadinejad, both Iran and Bolivia have a colonial past and will progress by “work[ing] together against greedy governments, and states that want to stop others from developing, and from exercising freedom.” President Morales responded: “There is a permanent aggression against you, your government and the Iranian people, but I want to tell you that you are not alone because we are with you in your fight against imperialism.”
  • An agreement was reached between Ahmadinejad and Bolivian President Evo Morales for the Iranian military to train ten counter-narcotics intelligence officers as per a new Memorandum of Understanding (PDF) between the two countries.
  • The trip has also renewed multiple economic and agricultural agreements between the countries, including the construction of a cement factory and housing projects, among others, according to the Argentina Independent.
  • The head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, Abolhasan Faqih, said that Iran’s Red Crescent Society recently inaugurated a new medical center in Bolivia.


  • Under President Lula da Silva, the relationship between Iran and Brazil became cordial, as Time reports, with Ahmadinejad visiting the country in 2009 and Lula returning the visit in 2010, to facilitate nuclear talks without US or EU powers, according to the BBC.
  • This relationship has changed with President Dilma Rousseff’s election in Brazil, as she has distanced her country from Iran as CNN noted earlier this year. Rousseff has cited Iran’s poor human rights record as a reason for her distance, which runs contrary to her priorities for her own country.
  • President Ahmadinejad was in Brazil for two days to take part in the Rio+20 Summit, though he also hoped to use the opportunity to reinvigorate ties with the Brazilian government. However, after a series of snubs by the Brazilian government, the success of the trip has been deemed a failure back at home in Iran. According to the Daily Telegraph, many Iranians are angry with the way in which President Ahmadinejad was treated and one Iranian MP criticized him “for failing to abandon the trip when he saw that he, and by extension, Iran, was being treated disrespectfully.”
  • The Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Ahmadinejad’s time in Brazil was instead spent in meetings with Brazilian elites, a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and another with the former Brazilian President Lula da Silva, as well as addressing the Rio+20 Summit.


  • Venezuela has probably had the closest ties with Iran of any country in the region in recent years. Since 1999, President Hugo Chavez has visited Tehran 13 times.
  • This relationship seems stable; Ahmadinejad’s visit occurred one week after President Chavez confirmed that Venezuela was building unmanned drones with Iran’s help, as Reuters recently reported. Venezuelan-Iranian relations have most recently been demonstrated through reports that Iran has unrestricted access to a Venezuelan port, where Venezuelan workers are denied access. This has been reported in El Nuevo HeraldDie Welt and the Miami Herald, all citing confidential sources that allege the goal is to ultimately build a missile base, although at the moment it remains under a veil of secrecy.
  • Although the meeting does not appear to have produced any new agreements, in his opening remarks at the presidential palace in Venezuela, Ahmadinejad offered to “always stand by the Venezuelan nation and their brave president Hugo Chavez”. In addition, the two presidents focused their meeting on reviewing current agreements including their “mutual investment of about $5 billion in factories to make cement, satellites, food, tractors and bicycles.”


  • The relationship between Venezuela and Cuba is such that Iran seeming benefits by association. The Associated Press reported that Venezuela’s state-owned oil company will join efforts to look for oil in deep waters off Cuba’s coast:
    • State-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, is next in line to drill after Malaysia’s Petronas completes its work, according to Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s oil minister and president of the company. He said Venezuela has budgeted an estimated $40 million for the project. Spanish oil company Repsol said last month that it would stop searching for oil off Cuba after hitting a dry well drilled at a cost of more than $100 million. “Repsol unfortunately didn’t have success in its well,” Ramirez said, “but that same platform is being used among all the companies that are participating there.”
  • ING bank has recently been forced to pay $619m as part of the deferred prosecution agreements reached with the Justice Department and the New York County District Attorney’s Office, for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA), and for violating New York state laws by illegally moving billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of sanctioned Cuban and Iranian entities.


  • Another country with close ties to Venezuela, and the smallest member of OPEC, Ecuador said on 23 May that it planned to buy about $400m in oil from Iran, despite US pressing for tighter sanctions.
  • Although not on Ahmadinejad’s itinerary – he visited in January, Ecuador received a visit from his deputy for international affairs, Vice-President Ali Saeedlou, at the end of May, reportedly to deliver a presidential invitation to the Non-Aligned Movement’s August summit in Tehran. Agence France Press says Saeedlou told reporters, after meeting with President Rafael Correa, that the two has also talked about increasing trade and technology exchanges.
  • In addition to the usual grandstanding we see whenever IAEA talks are in progress, Iran was perhaps attempting to exploit the relationship difficulties between Ecuador and the US following a diplomatic spat last year, in which ambassadors from both countries were expelled:  Saeedlou arrived on the same day the new US Ambassador resumed his post in Quito.

#Iran diplomat accused of child molestation in #Brazil


Brazil says it will seek an explanation from Iran after an Iranian diplomat was accused of molesting underage girls at a swimming pool in Brasilia.

The Iranian official was questioned by police following complaints from parents but released after invoking diplomatic immunity.

Iran’s embassy denied the allegations, and said they were the result of a “cultural misunderstanding”.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota called them “very worrying”.

The un-named Iranian diplomat was accused of inappropriately touching girls between 9 and 15 years old at a pool in a private club last weekend, Brazilian media reported.

The father of one of the girls told the G1 website that the diplomat was almost lynched by angry parents before security staff intervened.

“People wanted to kill him,” the unnamed father said.


The Iranian embassy said the allegations were the result of “a misunderstanding resulting from differences in cultural behaviour”.

It also accused the Brazilian media of deliberately sensationalising the incident.

But Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said he was taking the allegations very seriously and would ask the Iranian embassy for clarification before deciding what action to take.

“Personally I would consider it unacceptable if any Brazilian diplomat conducted himself in this manner in the country in which he was accredited,” Mr Patriota said.

BBC News

News and Comments 6 Feb 2012


Activists protest outside #Syria’s embassy in #Mauritania

A young female activists addresses the crowd, voicing their demands for an end to the killing in Syria and that Assad and his brutal regime should step down.

A cultural festival in Mauritania was marred by sandstorms

Aziz lack of fashion flair spoiled it for me. What a mess he looks in his robe

Emil Boc resigns after austerity protests, had no idea why Romania signed ACTA

Emil Boc said his government had not taken part in a popularity contest

Romania’s Prime Minister Emil Boc has stepped down to “defuse political and social tension” after a series of protests against austerity measures. Speaking after a cabinet meeting, he said he had given up the government’s mandate as “it is the moment for important political decisions”.
Although Romania’s economy grew last year, the government has been hit by three weeks of demonstrations.
Mr Boc has imposed a 25% cut in public sector wages and a freeze on pensions. Sales tax was also increased to 24%, in a country seen as Europe’s second poorest. Romania said it needed to implement the measures to qualify for the next instalment of a 20bn-euro ($25bn; £17bn) bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Poland put ACTA ratification on hold, and Slovenia apparently regrets its signature, and Emil Boc admitted that he doesn’t understand why the country signed ACTA. It appears that opposing politicians are criticizing the government and promising that they will suspend enforcement under ACTA until there are actual public hearings held on the matter. It really is quite amazing that the folks in the entertainment industry, who thought they could ram this through are now discovering how much they’ve awakened internet users across the globe ever since they shot for the moon with SOPA. ACTA has been on the table for years, and only a few of us “copyright geeks” were paying attention to it. But SOPA really made it clear to huge populations of people just how the entertainment industry seeks to restrict the internet through copyright law… and they’re simply not going to take that any more.

BBC News & TechDirt

Iran arrests several on alleged links to BBC Farsi-language service

Iranian authorities have arrested several people over alleged links to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Farsi-language service, Iran’s semiofficial Mehr news agency reported. The report said they produced content and reported to the BBC. It said they facilitated training and hiring of some Iranian journalists and arranged trips abroad for them. It quoted an unnamed official as saying they were active since 2009. It did not name them or say how many were arrested.

In London, the BBC said in a statement that the report “should be of deep concern to all those who believe in a free and independent media.” The British broadcaster said it has “no BBC Persian staff members or stringers working inside Iran.”

In October, Iran released two filmmakers who were in jail on similar charges. Tehran has accused the BBC of operating as a cover for British intelligence and of hosting Iranian dissidents. Last week the BBC accused Iran of intimidating staff members of its Persian service by slandering them and arresting relatives.

via AP in The Washington Post

Crime rate soars in Brazilian state of Bahia on fifth day of police strike

The Federal government has sent troops and special forces to cope with the wave of criminal actions

The murder rate in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia has soared during a state police strike that on Saturday entered its fourth day. The state’s Public Safety Department says on its website that 51 people have been murdered in and near the capital city of Salvador since the strike began on Wednesday.

The government news service Agencia Brasil says that the murder rate has ballooned 117% increase over the same period last year.

Some 2,000 Brazilian army soldiers and a contingent of 650 elite federal police troops are patrolling the nation’s third-largest city while officials and strike leaders negotiate an end to the strike.

State officials have said that about 10,000 of the state’s 30,000 police are on strike. They are demanding better pay and bonuses.

The city of Salvador registered a total of 29 homicides over a 30-hour span, amid a crime wave caused by a police strike and despite the reinforcements provided by the federal government.

The city has been plunged in a wave of violent crime since late Tuesday, when the 30.000 members of the Bahia state police force went on strike demanding a 50% pay raise.

Though on Thursday a court declared the walkout “illegal” and ordered police to resume their work immediately, the strike continued until Saturday with spokespersons for the police union announcing that it would not be called off until their demands were met.

The Brazilian government after ordering 2.600 soldiers from Army barracks in Salvador sent to other cities of Bahia, announced it was preparing another 4,000 if the situation gets worse.

The troops went on patrol this Friday in the chief tourism centres of Salvador, a city set to welcome thousands of tourists to celebrate Carnival, one of the most spectacular, massively attended in all Brazil.

Brasilia said that Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo will travel to Salvador this weekend to personally appraise the situation and decide whether a greater military presence is needed.

Speaking Friday night on regional television, Bahia Gov. Jacques Wagner attributed the crime wave to groups with ties to the police on strike.

via Crime rate soars in Brazilian state of Bahia on fifth day of police strike — MercoPress.

1 Jan 2012 News…articles…opinions

English: Maikel Nabil Sanad العربية: مايكل نبي...

#AfricanUnion #AFP #ArabLeague #Azerbaijan #Azeri #Bahrain #Brazil #Colombia #earthquake #Egypt #Gaza #internet #Iran #Israel #IzuIslands #Japan #Lebanon #Libya #Mali #Mauritania #media #Morocco #NewYear #Nigeria #Pakistan #Peru #propaganda #Sahrawi  #Saudi #Syria #Tunisia #Twitter #UNSC #WesternSahara #Yemen #ZuccottiPark

Police raided New York’s Zuccotti Park, clearing Occupy Wall St protesters and making several arrests v @AJELive 08:37 AM
A total of 2,645 people were killed last year in Iraq nearly 1,000 fewer than in 2009 still a number that probes the tragic legacy of 2003 v @javierespinosa2 08:41 AM
Clashes across Bahrain as protesters demand reform v @javierespinosa2 08:50 AM
Today Morocco starts a 2-year term as non-permanent member of the UNSC representing the group of African states… Don’t hold your breath. v @__Hisham 09:07 AM
6.8 earthquake 242 km (150 miles) SW of Hachijo-jima, Izu Islands, Japan. 05:27:54 UTC
Sunday, January 01, 2012 at 02:27:54 PM at epicenter, depth +/- 9.7 km (6.0 miles)
v @NewEarthquake 09:53 AM
Big news from jailed blogger Maikel Nabil’s brother Mark: Nabil has ended his 4-month hunger We are all hitting the streets.Jg pt v @Egyptocracy 10:02 AM
Burnt remains after a fire set off by New Year’s fireworks engulfed shanty homes in Manila Philippines burnt remains after a fire set off by New Year's firewor... on Twitpic another pic: burnt remains after a fire set off by New Year&#... on Twitpic v @khalidkhan787 10:12 AM
Muslim Brotherhood not to recognize Israel says the group’s Vice Chairman v @__Hisham 10:18 AM
In 2011: Over 5,800 killed in Syrian revolt v @khalidkhan787 10:24 AM
Armed Libyans hijack Tunisian border patrol v @khalidkhan787 10:27 AM
Pakistan, India exchange lists of nuclear installations, prisonersttp://t.co/KZFgcSN3 v @khalidkhan787 10:46 AM
100 Years in 10 Minutes (1911 – 2011 in 10 Minutes)
v @ Babadeye 11:35 AM
Twitter 2012 wishlist: better spam control, all our tweets reindexed & a functional search engine, rate limits abolished, fix site bugs. RT @teacherdude and add indicator that tells us when sb has DMed u [asteris: Yeah, Twitter, how hard can it be?] v @asteris 12:18 PM
Arab League says its monitors are allowing Damascus to cover up continued violence and abuses, should withdraw immediately – Reuters Syria v @__Hisham 12:27 PM
 – in Daraa Syria
v @AlexanderPageSY 12:55 PM
OmairAndOtaibi 2 Saudis still in jail since they protested against Israeli war on Gaza 3 years ago! v @Dima_Khatib 01:25 PM
Good news- Lebanon and Brazil two allies of Al-Assad are out of UNSC starting today. Syria v @wissamtarif 01:38 PM
Residents of Jamiliye in Aleppo line up their gas canisters to highlight Syria’s energy crisis
v @LeShaque 01:46 PM
Saharawi Coordinator with the MINURSO, Mr. Mhamed Khaddad, shared the contents of a message from the Malian government confirming “the Republic of Mali gives the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic the right to pursue within its national territory the criminal groups” and expressed strong dissatisfaction towards the Mali office of Agence France Press for stories indication that the cross-border operation happened without consent. http://snup.us/mQ7 v @Sahara_Voice 01:47 PM
On the day I relocated away from Twitter, @rupertmurdoch joined. I like the odd symmetry. 02:00 PM
Azerbaijani political prisoners talk about horrors they faced in Iranian prisons http://snup.us/mRa v @ Ehatemi 03:06 PM
African Union to Declare Fate of Libya Assets in East Africa. Hotels, telecoms, oil pipeline, agriculture… v @robinenergy 03:09 PM
imagine what happens next when today: 1st January 2012–> Japan earthquake 7.0, Philippines fire, Pakistan bombings, Ohio earthquake 4.0 etc. v @khalidkhan787 03:12 PM
Huge part of the upper floor of the Science Complex in Cairo, Egypt, collapsed. Lots of wreckage. v @Psypherize 03:13 PM
New Year 2012: Dead Blackbirds By The 1000s Fall Again In Arkansas Town http://snup.us/mRb v @khalidkhan787 03:20 PM
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  decided to resume diplomatic relations with Libya v @ Ehatemi 03:21 PM
Egypt to cut energy subsidies for heavy industry | Reuters v @ Hany2m 03:35 PM
Workers storming terminal 1 at Cairo airport to demand better conditions v @ Hany2m 03:38 PM
The trip first by a Western journalist @Raghavanswp since fighting began in May. A rare glimpse inside Zinjibar, Yemen http://snup.us/mRg v @ionacraig 03:57 PM
5.1 earthquake, south of the Mariana Islands. Jan 2 1:44am at epicenter (21m ago, 209km SW of HAGATNA, depth 22km) v @NewEarthquake 04:06 PM
Damascus Suburbs: Daraya: Security forces kidnapped martyred Ghiyath Matar’s brother-in-law while he was undergoing an operation Syria v @ZainSyr 04:11 PM
Justice minister said that Egypt has 35,000 registered NGOs. v @moftasa 04:27 PM
The Power of Listening http://snup.us/mQpttp “The Question is, can we afford ineffective listening in the post Arab-awakening Middle East? The answer is undoubtedly no. […] Let’s get out of our bubble, stop the tyrannical voice inside our mind and listen to each other more effectively in 2012.” v @Nervana_1 04:33 PM
Morality police’ in Egypt got beaten up by some women. 2012 needs such news! v @monakareem 04:36 PM
Hourly Wage of Iran’s Soft War Soldiers: 7000 Toman v @dustandtrash 05:11 PM
Gaddafi treasures buried in the desert spark battles: the Libyan authorities find 20 tons of gold and 80 million euros v @ Marebpress 05:15 PM
I don’t understand this constant state of denial: 1st SCAF tells us not to use the phrase ‘protesters were crushed’ Then.. PM Ganzouri tells us not use phrase ‘excessive use of force or even violence against protesters’ And finally Fayza Aboul Naga asks us not to characterize what happened to the NGOs as ‘raids’??? Can’t those in power just own up to their actions for goodness’ sake??? Egypt v @RawyaRageh 05:42 PM
at least 315 martyrs fell in Syria since the arrival of ArabLeague observers on the 23rd Dec 2011, RIP their souls & damn the Arab regime v @ZainSyr 06:06 PM
Libya Gaddafi supporters ‘try to blow up Tripoli power grid’ v @TelegraphNews 06:12 PM
Human Rights Watch has warned Saleh there will be no immunity for him once he leaves Yemen 06:38 PM
Terhran airport chief says Iran government directive has ordered a reciprocal refuelling ban for some European and Arab airlines http://snup.us/mQR 07:36 PM
External satellite TV channels have arrived in Mauritania. Wonder how many years until the people get satellite receivers, the few who can afford them. v @Ahmedouldbah 07:47 PM
Colombia: Colombia: Santos signed legislation against wage discrimination against women v @infolatam 08:01 PM
How Iran Spreads Propaganda through the International Press http://t.co/gW4Sl356 v @dustandtrash 08:03 PM
Anti-slavery activist group leader Biram Ould Dah Ould Obeida demanded a thorough and impartial investigation into ongoing issues of slavery and human rights abuses in Mauritania 08:07 PM
Internet users face spotty service in Iran http://snup.us/mRh Iran IranElection v @abu_xales 08:25 PM
Peru: Cajamarca resume protests against mining project v @infolatam 08:46 PM
Tawakul Karman says that she will run for the presidency of Yemen and that she will win. v @Saudiwoman 09:08 PM
Death toll rises to 66 in Nigeria communal clash v @Nervana_1 09:20 PM
Interesting, a group of psychiatrists started a new initiative for helping people with PTSD. Dr Manal Omar was on OnTV now talking about it. v @moftasa 09:34 PM
I’m really sorry, I hope our Tunisian brothers don’t see the kidnapping case as a normal thing. Apologies on behalf of Libya :/ Some ex Gaddafi bastards are trying really hard to ruin Libya Tunisia relations… v @ChangeInLibya 09:49 PM
The number of documented deaths in Syria today is 13, including a child; 4 in each of Homs & Idlib, 3 martyrs in Hama & 2 in Daraya (Damascus suburbs) v @ZainSyr 10:05 PM
9th episode of the unique Syrian Revolution puppet series released today v @MasasitMati 10:54 PM
Call for speakers at Cairo Security Camp Sep 2012, Send your CV with your paper to info (at) bluekaizen.org by 15 May 2012 11:54 PM