Brazil bowed to U.S. pressure and declined an Iranian request for two of its warships to dock in Rio de Janeiro at a time when Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was planning his trip to Washington to meet U.S. leader Joe Biden, sources said.
Brazil’s decision represents a gesture for closer ties with the Biden administration after U.S.-Brazil relations soured under Lula’s far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro. The move came despite Lula’s longstanding opposition to U.S. sanctions on Tehran, advocating for a neutral foreign policy.
On Jan. 13, Brazil granted permission for the IRIS Makran & IRIS Dena ships to dock in Rio’s port during Jan. 23-30, according to a post in the official government gazette.
That window has been scrapped, with the ships now authorized to dock between Feb. 26 and March 3, the Brazil’s foreign ministry said.
A U.S. official with direct knowledge of the situation said the prospect of Iranian warships in Rio ahead of Lula’s meeting with Biden on Friday “was something unpleasant we wanted to avoid.”