Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Nicaragua and Guatemala as part of a five-nation Latin America tour in the second week of January 2012. Guatemala was a late addition to the tour, as Ahmadinejad will attend the inauguration of new President Otto Pérez Molina.
Ahmadinejad will also visit Cuba and Ecuador on the trip, his international affairs director, Mohammad Reza Forghani, told the official news agency IRNA.
All the countries are left-leaning and share an ideological antagonism towards Iran’s arch-foe, the United States.
“Mr. Ahmadinejad will first go to Caracas to visit (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez,” Forghani said, confirming an announcement made Tuesday by Chavez.
“He will then go to the swearing-in ceremonies for Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who has been re-elected,” he said.
Ahmadinejad will then travel to Cuba and to Ecuador, where he will hold talks with the respective leaders.
Iran has been seeking to boost its ties with sympathetic Latin American countries in recent years, to the concern of the United States.
The trip was announced ahead of new sanctions expected to be imposed by the United States and Europe on Iran’s oil and financial sectors in a bid to halt Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.