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15 January 2012 - 22:59

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Tehran enjoys friendly relations with Latin American nations and they share similar views on global developments.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks at a press conference on Saturday upon his arrival from a five-day tour of four Latin American countries.

“Iran's relations with Latin America are very good, expansive, and strategic, and the country's interactions and transactions with all the countries of this region are increasing and deepening,” the Iranian president said.

Ahmadinejad added that the Islamic Republic is on the same front with most Latin American countries in the campaign against hegemony, injustice, and unilateralism.

During his trip, Ahmadinejad met with Cuban President Raul Castro and his brother, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

He also attended the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for his third term.

Earlier, the Iranian president met with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez to smooth the progress of new trade agreements.

Ahmadinejad left the Ecuadorian capital Quito on an Ecuadorian Air Force plane headed for the southwestern city of Guayaquil on Friday, from where he was seen off by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino before his flight to the Iranian capital Tehran.

The Iranian president was in Ecuador on the last leg of his four-nation tour of Latin America, during which he also met and held talks with the leaders and senior officials of Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

Leaders in all four Latin American nations have enhanced diplomatic and trade ties with Iran in recent years while their relations with the United States have been downgraded amid popular demands for an end to dependence on Washington.

Iran has been seeking to expand relations with Latin American countries over the past few years, describing the endeavor as one of its major foreign policy strategies.

Iran's rising popularity in Latin America has raised major concerns in the United States, which regards the region as its strategic backyard and traditional sphere of influence.

On January 6, the US warned Latin American states against expanding diplomatic and business ties with Iran, expressing concern over “Iran's outreach to the Western Hemisphere.”

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News Code 181382