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  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. | Photo: AFP

Published 18 August 2016

Leftist governments in Latin America have grown increasingly close to Iran in recent years and hope to build a strong foundation of cooperation.

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will begin a weeklong diplomatic trip to Latin America Sunday, where he is set to visit Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, looking to further expand the country's political and economic ties with the region.

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Iran expects Zarif’s visit to signal a “new chapter in the relations between Iran and Latin America,” according to Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi, quoted by Press TV Wednesday.

Leftist governments in Latin America have grown increasingly close to Iran in recent years.

Takht-e-Ravanchi, said that the visit would provide a foundation for increased cooperation in the region – particularly in the economic sphere – which would help bring relations to “a whole new level.”

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“There are many fields for economic cooperation between Iran and these six countries, but the capacities have yet to be fully utilized,” said Takht-e-Ravanchi to Iranian media agency, Mehr.

Iran has been growing increasingly close to Latin America in recent years, but has accused Israel and other countries of undermining its emerging relationship with the region. “Certain regional states have also joined the Zionist regime and display a wrong image of Iran in line with Iranophobia plots,” said Takht-e-Ravanchi to Iran’s Fars news agency.

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Zarif's trip will be the first official visit by an Iranian diplomat since Ravanchi’s visit three years ago.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in Peru, Mauricio Macri in Argentina, and Horacio Cartes in Paraguay – recently all elected to office – have signaled their intent to move away from Latin America’s independent and anti-imperialist foreign policy and thus will not be hosting the Iranian diplomat.

Zarif will be accompanied by approximately 60 business people on the trip.

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