Thursday, April 7, 2011

'US fears Iran clout in Latin America'

Iranian lawmaker Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash

Source: Press TV

In reaction to the US concerns over the growing ties between Iran and Latin America, a senior Iranian lawmaker says Washington is cognizant and fearful of the influence of Iran's Islamic Revolution.

“The US is fearful that the Islamic Revolution in Iran has increased the awakening of Middle Eastern and North African nations,” member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash said Wednesday.

He added that it is an “undeniable” reality that the Islamic Revolution has had positive effects on nations and predicted that similar events in the Middle East and North Africa would take place in Latin America in the near future, Majlis news agency (ICANA) reported.

“However, the difference is that Islamic inspirations are behind the revolutions in the Middle East but the revolution of Latin American countries will pursue” the path of democracy, Ahmadi Bighash pointed out.

The remarks by the Iranian lawmaker comes after General Douglas Fraser, the head of the US Southern Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Iran has expanded its ties in Latin America beyond its close relationship with Venezuela.

Fraser said that Iran has nearly doubled the number of embassies and cultural centers in the region, adding that the number of Iran's embassies has gone up from six in 2005 to ten in 2010, and that it is also building cultural centers in 17 countries.

"My concern, as I look at it, is the fact that there are flights between Iran and Venezuela on a weekly basis, and visas are not required for entrance into Venezuela or Bolivia or Nicaragua," he added.

Last month, Washington warned Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez against 'violating' sanctions on Iran; however, US officials noted that there was no evidence Venezuela had violated the sanctions.

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