Over the weekend, the Brazilian government allowed two of the Islamic Republic’s warships to dock in Rio de Janeiro despite pressure from the United States to prevent them from doing so. The latest news from Brazil comes as the Islamic Republic continues to show interest in spreading its influence in Latin America.
According to a statement from port authorities, the IRIS Makran and IRIS Dena warships arrived on Sunday morning.
Earlier this year, several media outlets reported that Brazil agreed to American requests to decline the vessels to make port in the nation’s capital, an act of goodwill from Brazilian President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, who flew to Washington to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden.
“This was developing for a long time,” explained Joseph M. Humire, Executive Director for the Center for a Secure Free Society who has been following the presence of Iran’s regime in the Southern Hemisphere for years.
“In 2021, there was an attempt by Iran to bring more ships to Brazil, and there was some indication that they were going to go to Venezuela, but they rerouted and went to West Africa instead.”
Following the end of Lula’s trip, the ships have now been allowed to dock, and according to reports with the Deputy Chief of Brazil’s Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Carlos Eduardo Horta Arentz, approving for the ships to dock in Rio from late February to the end of March, according to an official notice.
“The Iranians were already in South America in late January and could have technically gone to Brazil back then, but they did not,” explained Humire.
“Iran has been testing the waters to see the reaction to entering Brazil, calculating that there would be no backlash. The Islamic Republic can “show that they can come to Brazil even if the U.S. does not want them to.”
Humire says that this has been a normalizing effort by the regime in Tehran, which has had a permanent military presence in Latin America for 40 years.
“The warships could continue to help transport weapons throughout Latin America, specifically to countries like Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua to an extent,” Humire said.
“It would be interesting to see these warships travel to Venezuela,” said Humire, adding that soon they will end up there.
In a statement to reporters regarding the warships in Iran, Texas Republican Ted Cruz stated that the docking of the Iranian warships in Rio de Janeiro was a “dangerous development and a direct threat to the safety and security of Americans.”
“These Iranian warships are already sanctioned, and so the port in Rio de Janeiro where they docked is now at risk of crippling sanctions, as are any Brazilian companies that provided them services or accepted payments and so are all foreign companies that entangle themselves with the port or those Brazilian companies in the future.”
According to Senator Cruz, the Biden administration is “obligated to impose relevant sanctions, reevaluate Brazil’s cooperation with US antiterrorism efforts, and reexamine whether Brazil maintains effective antiterrorism measures at its ports. If the administration does not, Congress should force them to do so.”
Asked if the Biden administration would sanction Brazil, Humire said he “doubts it,” adding that the U.S. needs to stay one step ahead of Iran and “look towards the next move.”
“If these ships pass through the Panama Canal, then the next step is for China, Russia, and Iran to do a joint military exercise in the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean.”
“The Department of Defense has a concept called integrated deterrence, and we need to build its capabilities with the remaining partners we have in Latin America,” Humire said.
“If two Iranian ships are coming today, more will come soon, along with Russian and Chinese naval vessels,” he said.
Humire also explained that given the recent news of Iran’s weapons-grade enrichment, one should not doubt that Latin American countries like Brazil are providing the regime with the material needed for their nuclear program.
Following the election of various leftist candidates in Latin America, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been cementing relations with governments in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, and many other countries, exporting their Islamic Revolution and engaging in illegal drug and weapons smuggling.
Additionally, the regime’s terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, has a significant presence in Latin America, supporting many of these candidates and engaging in terrorist activities through their mosque network.