News ID: 112941
Publish Date : 28 February 2023 - 21:55

Brazil Allows Iranian Warships Despite U.S. Pressure

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dispatches) -- Two Iranian warships docked in Rio de Janeiro after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government granted permission despite pressure from the United States to bar them.
The IRIS Makran and IRIS Dena warships both arrived on Sunday morning, Rio’s port authority said in a statement.
Reuters earlier this month reported that Brazil had bowed to U.S. pressure and declined Iran’s request for the vessels to dock in Rio in late January, in a gesture from Lula as he flew to Washington to meet U.S. President Joe Biden.
However, with Lula’s trip over, the ships have been allowed to dock. Vice Admiral Carlos Eduardo Horta Arentz, the deputy chief of Brazil’s Naval Staff, gave his approval for the ships to dock in Rio between Feb. 26 and March 4, according to a Feb. 23 notice in the official gazette.
The Brazilian Navy authorizes a foreign vessel to dock in Brazil, but only after authorization from the foreign ministry, which takes into account the requesting embassy’s petition and logistics.
The presence of the Iranian warships on Brazilian shores continues to irk the United States as it seeks to build closer ties with Lula’s administration, which came into office on Jan. 1.
In a Feb. 15 press conference, U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley urged Brazil not to allow the ships to dock.
“In the past, those ships facilitated illegal trade and terrorist activities, and have also been sanctioned by the United States. Brazil is a sovereign nation, but we firmly believe those ships should not dock anywhere,” she said.
Diplomacy with Iran was one of the highlights of Lula’s attempts to bolster Brazil’s international standing during his previous presidential terms. He traveled to Tehran to meet then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010 as he sought to broker a nuclear deal between Iran and the United States.
Last month, ships from the Iranian Navy docked in Rio de Janeiro to proceed toward the Panama Canal.
Following Tehran’s announcement that its navy would deploy ships in the waterway earlier in January, the U.S. said it was closely monitoring Iran’s activity in the Panama Canal.
Washington is monitoring “Iran’s attempts to have a military presence in the Western Hemisphere,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told The Washington Free Beacon.
Earlier, the Brazilian Navy said that the two Iranian warships, one equipped with

“anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes, and naval guns,” were permitted to dock in Brazil.
In recent years, as part of the nation’s economic program, Iran has been fortifying its connections with Latin American nations, most notably Venezuela.
Given that both Iran and Venezuela have a history of suffering from painful sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies, Iranian ships have docked in Venezuela more frequently.
Rear Admiral Shahram Irani, the head of Iran’s navy, said earlier in January that Iranian forces would arrive in the Panama Canal later this year, marking the first time Iran’s armed forces had reached the Pacific.
On January 28, the commander of the Iranian army fleet announced that several new maritime combat helicopters have been developed and will be revealed soon.
Rear Admiral Irani stated that the sea might serve as the focal point of the nation’s development while referencing the crucial significance of the nation’s maritime capabilities in an interview with Mehr news.
“There is a great opportunity for the development of the country by sea for Iran. The countries that do not have this capacity are experiencing geopolitical suffocation,” the senior commander added.