Iranian warships have been speeted off the coast of Brazil in move that has infuriated US politicians. The south American nation gave Iran permission to dock two sanctioned ships in Rio de Janeiro, sparking a backlash from the US and Israel.
Lior Haiat, the spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the docking of the ships a “dangerous development” and scorned Brazil for granting a “prize” to Iran.
The ships, sanctioned recently by the US State Department, were told they could stay until today.
The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said it wants to ensure Iran “is not able to acquire a foothold” in “our hemisphere”.
He added: “It is certainly not the case that the Brazilian government, the Brazilian people would want to do anything that would assist, that would aid a government, a regime that is responsible for a brutal crackdown and violent repression against its own people.”
Some senior politicians have taken aim at Brazil, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz who called the docking of the IRIS Makran and IRIS Dena a “direct threat” to the US.
He warned the port in Rio de Janeiro and any companies connected to the docking are now at risk of “crippling sanctions”.
He went on to explain that all foreign companies that “entangle themselves” with the port, or the companies involved with the docking, will suffer the same fate.
Mr Cruz argued that Brazilian President da Silva was a “Chavista aligned against the United States and our interests”.
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He called on Biden to both impose sanctions and “reevaluate Brazil’s cooperation with U.S antiterrorism efforts”.
Brazil’s foreign ministry was approached by the Associated Press for comment on the statements but did not respond, according to AP.
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