Iran, Nicaragua discussed ways to counter US influence in Latin America: Pentagon leaks

The Cradle, April 14, 2023 —

Nicaragua and Venezuela have readily welcomed Iranian assistance to counter US sanctions.

During a diplomatic trip to Nicaragua in February, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with senior Nicaraguan Army commanders to discuss bolstering military cooperation to counter US influence in Latin America, according to an intelligence report found inside a leaked cache of classified Pentagon documents.

The intelligence report — provided to the New York Times (NYT) and based on intercepts gathered by the CIA — states that Nicaraguan commanders told Amir-Abdollahian that Managua opposed “US efforts to expand influence in Latin America and expressed a willingness to engage with Tehran and other like-minded countries.”

While both nations trumpeted Amir-Abdollahian’s visit, their official announcements focused on economic, trade, and energy cooperation, making no mention of military cooperation.

According to Iranian state-run news agency IRNA, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega noted during his meeting with Iran’s top diplomat in February that the two countries “had a common enemy” that was defeated in the same year, referring to the Islamic and Sandinista revolutions of 1979 that both overthrew oppressive US-backed governments.

In response, Amir-Abdollahian noted that Nicaragua connoted “independence and freedom-seeking in the minds of the Iranians because Nicaragua has stood and is standing against imperialism.”

Since the victory of their revolutions, Iran and Nicaragua have both been the target of unilateral economic sanctions, several US-backed coup attempts, and highly biased media coverage from western outlets.

During his visit to Managua, the Iranian foreign minister stressed that Tehran seeks political independence in support of a multilateral international order. He referred to US-led sanctions on independent nations as a “terrorist threat” that imperialist powers employ as leverage.

Amir-Abdollahian made a similar statement from Cuba days later, accusing the west of “pursuing the hybrid policy of imposing sanctions and intervention in other countries’ affairs through stoking and encouraging riots in independent countries of the world.”

Iran has been making significant inroads in Latin America recently, most notably in Venezuela, where Tehran has helped Caracas resuscitate its battered energy sector.

In 2019, the late Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani visited Caracas to reportedly help with establishing the “Popular Defense Units,” or revolutionary militias, to maintain order in the face of US-backed coup attempts.

The Islamic Republic also achieved a diplomatic victory with Brazil earlier this year, when leftist President Lula da Silva allowed Iranian warships to dock in Rio de Janeiro before heading for the Panama Canal.

Earlier this week, a member of the Iran-Brazil Joint Chamber of Commerce announced that Tehran and Brasilia are preparing to launch a direct shipping route.

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