Brazil sees no Iranian threat, despite US warning

Brazil, which does not classify Hezbollah as a terrorist group, has said it has had no indication that any terrorist cells are present in the region.

Brazil sees no Iranian threat, despite US warning

Brazil sees no threat from Iran, despite U.S. concerns that the Tehran government is courting allies in Latin America, Brazil Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said on Friday.

Thomas Shannon, the senior U.S. official for Latin America, said on Wednesday that Iran was making allies in the region to counter Washington's traditional influence and could use them to threaten U.S. security.

"This is news to me," Jobim said. "I'm not working on that theory. The information that I have has nothing about this."

Shannon urged Latin American governments to respect U.N.-backed sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program and urged them "to be vigilant."

But Jobim told reporters that although Latin American governments were in close contact with each other over the setting up of a regional defense council, "there's been no dialogue of this nature."

The prime U.S. concern seems to be the left-wing governments in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia, which have all become closer to Iran in recent years.

However, U.S. officials have long complained that Iran-backed Hezbollah and other Islamic groups that Washington considers to be terrorist organizations are active in Brazil's Arab communities, especially in the so-called tri-border region where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet.

Brazil, which does not classify Hezbollah as a terrorist group, has said it has had no indication that any terrorist cells are present in the region.

State energy company Petrobras has some exploration activities in Iran and the U.S. state of Florida has threatened to end its pension fund investment in any companies that have business dealings with Iran unless they divest by September.

Reuters
Last Mod: 10 Mayıs 2008, 16:22
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