Against the backdrop of renewed tensions between the Western community and Tehran over the Iranian nuclear program and the resumption of the crisis with the White House over the Strait of Hormuz, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in Venezuela, the first leg of a Latin American tour that will also take him to other friendly countries such as Nicaragua, where Daniel Ortega will inaugurate a new presidential term tomorrow, as well as Cuba and Ecuador.
This is Ahmadinejad’s fifth visit to the Latin American region, with which, he said, “Relations are very good,” as the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported. “The culture of the peoples of this region and their historical instances – he added – are similar to the demands of the Iranian people.” This was echoed by his first host, Hugo Chavez: “We are people who have anti-colonialist ideology and therefore resist the regime of oppression,” he said in his radio and TV program ‘Hello President’, sparing no criticism of the United States.
Over the past seven years, Iran has intensified its relations with Latin America, especially under Ahmadinejad, who, in less than five years, has visited Venezuela four times as well as Brazil, Bolivia and other countries that are also included in his new official trip . In this context, Tehran has signed over a hundred bilateral agreements in the oil, agricultural, industrial, military, mining and infrastructure fields.
Although always taking a staunch defensive stance on Iran, which he has visited nine times in 13 years in office, Chavez has treaded carefully on the crisis between the U.S. and Tehran over the Strait of Hormuz: the crisis could also extend to some Arab countries with which Venezuela has good relationships given that it is a member of the Organization of petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).