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Iran seeks South American influence with Cuba, Venezuela tour – analysis

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is heading to South America for what the country is billing as an important tour of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. Venezuela’s leader was recently in the region to attend the Turkish president’s inauguration and also to travel to the Gulf. Iran’s President is heading to Latin America after speaking with France’s president.  

Iranian media profiled the trip noting that Iran’s president believes that the countries of South America want to pursue an “independent” policy. Meaning that they want to be independent of the US. Iran would like to cultivate ties with more countries, such as Brazil and Columbia, and perhaps Argentina as well. Iran is highlighting its ties with Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. These are countries whose leadership has been hostile to the US. In addition these countries work with Russia, China and sometimes Turkey as well. Tehran sees them as prime candidates for drone sales, trade in energy and also as part of its overall agenda to threaten the West. In addition Iran wants to get around sanctions and has in the past sought to exploit South America by using proxies like Hezbollah and others to engage in drug trade and other illicit activities.  

The trip by the Iranian leader will be watched closely to see what kind of deals he may sign and what other issues may arise or if there are any surprise visits that take place. Iran also recently sent its navy around the world and that included stops in South America.  

The trip to South America also comes as Iran is beginning a full-court press to lay claim to several islands in the Persian Gulf and has addressed new capabilities of its navy.  

Reports in Iran say this is Raisi’s 12th trip abroad

In addition the reports mention that the Iranian leader is traveling with key ministers, including of foreign affairs, oil, defense and health. 

“Relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and independent countries in Latin America are strategic. The position of us and these three countries is to stand against imperialism and unilateralism,” Raisi said before departing, Al-Jazeera noted. 

Source: The Jerusalem Post