The Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad will be travelling to Latinamerica in the second week of January 2012 to visit Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador, announced the Teheran presidential office, according to a report from the official news agency FNA.
“During the tour that begins the second week of January, president Ahmadinejad will first visit Caracas to meet with President Hugo Chavez and later to Nicaragua for the taking office ceremony of President Daniel Ortega, who was recently re-elected for a second term”, said Mohamad Reza Forghani, foreign affairs director from the presidential office.
In Cuba and Ecuador the Iranian president will holds talks with the leaders of both countries, adds the report.
Iran in recent years (since 2005) has expanded and intensified bilateral relations and cooperation with several Latinamerican countries, mainly those linked to ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance) (*) such as Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Brazil which “has caused great concern in the United States”.
Links are more intense with Venezuela with both countries considered “allies” in many international issues and organizations such as OPEC which dominates the world supply of oil to the industrialized world.
Ahmadinejad was scheduled to visit Venezuela last September but the trip was postponed “waiting for the chronogram of President Chavez full recovery” from cancer chemotherapy treatment, after he was diagnosed with the disease last June in Cuba.
Last Tuesday Chavez had advanced that Iranian president Ahmadinejad would be visiting Venezuela early next year.
“Ahmadinejad must visit us at the beginning of next year; he has also requested to meet with Peruvian President (Ollanta) Humala who was unable to make it to the CELAC summit in Caracas”, at the beginning of December said Chavez.
The Iranian leader’s visit comes at a moment of escalating dispute of Teheran with the West regarding Iran’s alleged intention of manufacturing atomic weapons to which Washington and the EU have reacted imposing increasingly tough sanctions.
Precisely on Thursday a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said the United States was not in a position to tell Tehran what to do in the Strait of Hormuz, state television reported, after the US said it would preserve oil shipments in the Gulf through the crucial Strait of Hormuz.
Tehran's threat to block traffic through the vital passage for Middle Eastern crude suppliers followed the European Union's decision to tighten sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, as well as accompanying moves by the United States to tighten unilateral sanctions.
Iran's English-language Press TV quoted Hossein Salami as saying: Any threat will be responded by threat ... We will not relinquish our strategic moves if Iran's vital interests are undermined by any means.
Separately, Salami was quoted as saying by the official FNA news agency: Americans are not in a position whether to allow Iran to close off the Strait of Hormuz.
The U.S. Fifth Fleet said on Wednesday it would not allow any disruption to shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, a strip of water separating Oman and Iran.
(*)The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America is an international cooperation organization based on the idea of social, political, and economic integration between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It currently has eight members: Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda.