Iran in Latin America

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” This phrase summarizes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tour of Latin America. The friendship created by the animosity against the United States is a temporary convenience, since the tragic unresolved past of the ayatollah’s regime in the region cannot be disregarded.

The Iranian president’s visit, which started in Venezuela and continues to Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba, seeks to create closer ties between Iran and the Bolivarian universe of Hugo Chávez through various political, trade, investment and exchange agreements.

Argentina was never considered as a stop for the tour. No one can accuse Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s leftist government of sympathizing with Washington or anything similar. The issue is that this nation intimately experienced suffering at the hands of Iran’s terrorist facet.

In 1994, a bombing attack against a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires left 85 dead and 200 wounded. Subsequent investigations found that seven Iranian citizens were responsible for the crime, including Iran’s current defense minister. This official no longer accompanies the president during international trips, because Interpol has issued a capture order against him.

Today, Argentina is still demanding the Iranian government turn over the suspects to undergo trial, but Iran is refusing.

The reason for the attack was apparently the decision of the Argentinean government of the time to suspend a nuclear technology transfer agreement with Iran.

This incident reveals much about Iran’s behavior in Latin America. It is not necessary to be a U.S. lackey to recognize that terrorism mercilessly murdered Latin Americans when it was unable to reach its goals by political means.

On the other hand, we are concerned about Iran’s influence growing in Latin America and filling development vacuums that other democratic nations are ignoring. Often when help is needed, it does not matter who it comes from. The Iranian government cannot be blamed either for taking advantage of an opportunity others are disregarding.

The smiling image of Ahmadinejad with Chávez, Rafael Correa, Daniel Ortega and the Castro brothers is a thorn on the side of the United States. However, Latin Americans are already familiar with this thorn’s venom. We believe the continent’s solidarity should be for the victims in Argentina and not for the aggressors.

La Opinión/ImpreMedia