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Sunday, August 5, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Iran and Nicaragua in barter deal

Iran is to help Nicaragua develop its infrastructure in return for farm products, according to a trade deal between the two countries.

Under the agreement, Iran will help develop a port and build houses and industrial sites.

In return, Nicaragua will export coffee, meat and bananas to Iran.

The two countries, which have strained relations with the US, have improved ties since Daniel Ortega became Nicaraguan President in January 2007.

Under the accords, Iran will fund a farm equipment assembly plant, four hydroelectric plants, five milk-processing plants, a health clinic, the building of 10,000 houses, and two piers in the western port of Corinto, government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said.

Of course, for one who studied political science and US-Latin American relations in the 1980s, I couldn’t help but immediately think of Iran-Contra when I saw the headline, although I guess now its Iran-Sandanista!

This would appear to be an extension of Iran’s Venezuela strategy, i.e., to forge ties with left-leaning (especially of the more populistic flavor) leaders in Latin America. It strikes me as smart, as Iran can use all the friends it can make and it certainly has to create a positive domestic boost in Iran as these states are in the US’ backyard. From Nicaragua’s point of view, this is certainly a good deal, at least it seems such based on the basic description in the piece.

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Filed under: Latin America, Iran | |

1 Comment

  1. It’s an interesting deal.

    US-Nicaragua relations are certainly different now than they were in 1979 after the Sandinistas sent Somoza packing; and Iran may be a boogey man, but the Soviet Union it ain’t.

    It strikes me as bad foreign policy on our part to create conditions favorable to the formation of positive relations between known sponsors of the Middle Eastern style of terrorism and any nation in the western hemisphere. Certainly terror has a long history here (and since we’re talking about Nicaragua the Sandinistas are a great example). Personally I think the Tupamaros might have been the most innovative group in history (given historic context) in terms of urban terror; they knew how to take punches at the powerful, and they were darn good at it.

    Latin American terror, though, has typically stayed in Latin America, party (I think) because of its nature, and partly (I think) because of US intervention. All those superpower fights, like Nicaragua, were horrible for Latin America but they did keep the Soviets out, at least ostensibly.

    I guess this is some of the aftermath of those proxy wars - like Somalia, like Afghanistan. . .

    A very smart military science professor of mine once told me that the amount of time it takes to clean up the mess after a war is an exponential function of the length of the war. The cold war lasted what, the better part of fifty years?

    I guess we’re gonna be mopping floors for a long time.

    Comment by Captain D. — Monday, August 6, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

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