The United States “still lives in the Cold War era”, said Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast on Tuesday, in response to a new law enacted by President Barack Obama aimed at countering the influence of the Iranian regime in Latin America.
The “Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act”, he said, “is an overt intervention in Latin American affairs...that shows they are not familiar with new world relations,” adding that the United States "still lives in the Cold War era and considers Latin America as its back yard."
President Obama on Friday enacted the law, which aims to counter Iran’s growing influence in Latin America via a new diplomatic and political strategy designed by the U.S. State Department.
The act, passed by lawmakers in 2012, calls for a strategy to be developed within 180 days that will “address Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity” in the region.
The text also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to bolster surveillance at U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico to “prevent operatives from Iran, the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), its Quds Force, Hizbullah or any other terrorist organization from entering the United States”.
“We recommend that they respect the nations’ right in today’s world... world public opinion does not accept such an interventionist move”, said Mehmanparast.
Tehran’s relation’s with all nations, in particular with Latin American countries, was “friendly” and based on “mutual respect and interest”, he maintained.
Since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected in August 2005, Iran has expanded and solidified its relations with Latin American countries.
According to the website of Israel’s Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, “Iran exploits those relations to strengthen its foothold in Latin America to establish political, economic and religious influence and for terrorist and subversive activity.”
“Iran’s links are both direct, and indirect through the Qods Force and Hizbullah. Its activities in Latin America are part of a larger Iranian strategy to extricate itself from political isolation and to present a genuine threat to the United States in its own back yard,” it states.
Iran implements the strategy by exploiting its relations with Latin American countries and groups within the local populations “where anti-American ideology and rhetoric fall on willing ears and where there are Muslim populations, some of them Lebanese Shi'ites,” the website explains.