Iran Boosting Ties with Latin American Countries

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By Vasudevan Sridharan | December 14, 2012 7:47 PM EST

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (L) shake hands at Miraflores Palace in Caracas on 9 January, 2012 file photo - Reuters

Iran is seeking to strengthen its ties with Latin American countries - even though international concerns about its nuclear ambitions are rising.

Cuba's foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, is hosting Iran's foreign minister for European and American Affairs Asqar Khaji in Havana today, and has also announced that Cuban leader Raul Castro will visit Iran next year.

Rodriguez also took the opportunity to underline Cuba's support for Tehran's nuclear programme.

Tehran and Havana are strengthening their relationship at a time when Tehran is being isolated following US-backed sanctions. The two countries already have strong diplomatic relations, while bilateral trade has been boosted since 2006.

To bolster ties with Latin American countries, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been visiting Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia.

In the last seven years under the rule of Ahmadinejad, Iran has signed many agreements with Latin American countries.

Iran's staunchest ally in the region is Venezuela and Tehran has openly admitted that Iran has been supplying drone technology to the country.

Iranian Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Mehdinejad-Nouri, told students at Babol Noshirvani University of Technology that Tehran has been exporting drone and UAV technologies to many countries including Syria and Venezuela, reports the Jerusalem Post, quoting Iran's ISNA news agency.

Venezuelan state-owned CA Venezolana de Industria Militares (CAVIM) company recently announced the domestic version of Tehran's Mohajer-2 drone.

Meanwhile, Iran's talks with the UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have failed to yield any breakthrough. Further discussions are to be held in January 2013.

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