Iran’s president is befriending America’s neighbours

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was in Nicaragua yesterday (Wednesday) for a Latin American tour that’s also taking him to Venezuela and Cuba.

During his first leg in Caracas, Raisi and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro signed 19 cooperation pacts, and pledged a six-fold boost to trade.

And the rhetoric’s been lofty, too: Raisi called Iran’s bonds with Venezuela “invincible”, and hailed a “new world order” of “freedom-seeking” nations.

Intrigue’s take: Iran has managed to maintain regional influence, suppress internal dissent, and demand the attention of Western policymakers, all while under US sanctions.

So for Latin America’s few remaining US-sanctioned regimes, what’s not to love?

Also worth noting:

  • Iranian state-backed firms have been helping Venezuela repair its oil infrastructure since 2020.
  • Nicaraguan opposition figure Félix Maradiaga, arrested in 2021 and exiled to the US this year, described Raisi’s visit as a “tour of shame”.