Saturday Mar 17, 201203:42 PM GMT
Iran: Latin America no US backyard
Bolivia's President Evo Morales(L), Iran's Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi (R) and Bolivia's Defense Minister Maria Cecilia Chacon, center, at a military ceremony in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on May 31, 2011
Thu Jun 2, 2011 10:29AM
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Iran's Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi says the Latin American region is no longer a place where the US can easily wield its influence.

“Latin America is no longer the US' backyard and Iran will enhance its constructive relations with the regional countries,” Vahidi said on Thursday, upon his arrival from a visit to Bolivia.

He described the visit as “successful,” saying Iran and Bolivia are determined to further enhance their “growing ties,” Fars news agency reported.

Vahidi was invited to Bolivia by the country's Defense Minister Maria Cecilia Chacon and attended a military ceremony in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz on Tuesday.

The Iranian defense minister's visit was overshadowed by the allegations leveled by some Israeli-sponsored groups in Bolivia's neighboring country, Argentina, accusing him of allegedly being involved in a bomb attack in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Vahidi rejected the allegations, describing them as “baseless claims,” instigated by the “Israeli lobby.”

The allegation “is so worthless that it is even deemed invalid in a neighboring country,” the Iranian official went on to say.

Vahidi criticized the hegemonic powers for pressuring the independent countries to manipulate their foreign policies, arguing that such efforts are “doomed to failure” and “inefficient.”

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