Brazil allows Iranian warships to dock in Rio de Janeiro, worrying international officials

Streaming HUBMarch 3, 2023

The arrival in Rio de Janeiro this week of two Iranian warships, which have been authorized by the Brazilian government to dock, drew rebukes from both Israel and the US.

“Israel views the docking of Iranian warships in Brazil a few days ago as a dangerous and regrettable incident,” Lior Hayat, a spokesman for Israel’s foreign relations ministry, wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Brazil should not give any prize to a malicious state.”

Hayat’s comments followed a day earlier by US State Department spokesman Ned Price. Responding to a reporter’s question about the ships arriving in Brazil, Price said Washington is discussing the issue with Brazilian partners and wants to make sure Iran “isn’t able to gain a foothold, our others in the hemisphere haven’t been able to take advantage of.” ,

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“It’s certainly not the case that the Brazilian government, the Brazilian people want to do anything that will aid, that will aid a government, a regime that is responsible for brutal crackdowns and violent repression against its own people,” he said. Said. ,

On Thursday, one of the two ships was seen offshore in an area south of Rio’s world-famous beaches, while the other was docked in the city. The ships IRIS Makran and IRIS Dena have been authorized to remain in Rio until March 4.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control last month designated both ships for sanctions.

Brazil’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment on the statements from Israeli and US officials.

Brazil is allowing Iranian warships to dock off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil is allowing Iranian warships to dock off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

The Iranian navy visit comes amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the West over the collapse of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and the Islamic Republic enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels higher than ever.

Iranian officials have portrayed the visit as a challenge to US influence in its own backyard – a long-standing point of contention as Tehran continually criticizes the presence of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet in the region, which is based in Persia. patrols the Gulf and its narrow mouth, the strategic strait. Hormuz.

The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Iranian navy commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani as saying in January that “the Islamic Republic does not have a presence in the two strategic straits on the planet, but in the current year, the Iranians plan to have a presence there.” One of them, which is the Panama Canal.” State media described the visit as a challenge to US “hegemony”.

Iran also faced nationwide protests and anger following the September death of Masha Amini, a woman who died after being taken into custody by the country’s morality police. Since those demonstrations, Tehran has also tried to flex its forces elsewhere. Tehran has supplied Russia with drones that have killed Ukrainian civilians, conducted drills in the border region with Azerbaijan and bombed Kurdish targets in Iraq.

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Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made international diplomacy a feature of his second presidential term, which ended in 2010. This included attempting to broker a nuclear deal between the US and Iran during his second presidential term in the same year, although negotiations failed.

Elected in October to return to the presidency, Lula traveled to Washington early last month as a means of demonstrating his alignment with President Joe Biden. Biden’s special climate envoy John Kerry was also in the Brazilian capital this week to discuss cooperation to protect the Amazon rainforest.

In a statement on Tuesday, US Sen. Ted Cruz said the US has already sanctioned two Iranian warships, and the port of Rio de Janeiro and any Brazilian service provider are now at risk of sanctions.

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Cruz wrote, “The Biden administration is obligated to implement relevant sanctions, re-evaluate Brazil’s cooperation with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and re-examine that Brazil is maintaining effective counterterrorism measures at its ports.” Or not.”

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