An Iranian parliamentary team has embarked on a six-day trip to Cuba and Venezuela despite attempts by the US to disrupt the visits by denying its airspace to the Russian plane carrying the lawmakers.
The parliamentary delegation, headed by Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of Majlis Alaeddin Boroujerdi, left Tehran for the two Latin American countries early Monday.
The Iranian delegation was scheduled to travel to Cuba and Venezuela on Sunday. However, the trip was postponed after the US warned Aeroloft Russian Airlines that its airliner was not allowed to pass through US skies with the Iranian Majlis team on board.
Washington’s move made Iranian lawmakers set off for the two Latin American countries with a one-day delay, taking a different aerial route than the one previously planned.
Boroujerdi had earlier said that the planned trip was aimed at further strengthening Iran’s relations with the Latin American countries.
Washington considers Latin America as its strategic backyard, a term used to refer to the US traditional areas of dominance.
In December 2012, US President Barack Obama enacted a law to counter Iran’s growing relations with Latin American countries.
The so-called “Countering Iran in Western Hemisphere Act” requires the US Department of State to develop a strategy to address what Washington calls Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity in Latin America.