(DefesaNET) Besides receiving, under public criticism from the United States, ships from Iran’s war fleet in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian government also sent representatives to participate, on Tuesday 28th, in a ceremony alluding to the 120 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Estadao found out that the ceremony was held aboard the frigate Iris Dena, one of the two Iranian military vessels anchored in the port of Rio. The celebration, attended by officials from the Navy and Itamaraty, was not disclosed through official channels of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The entry of the vessels into the Brazilian coast has generated unease in Brazil’s diplomatic relationship with the U.S., which imposes sanctions on Iran alleging acts of terrorism and human rights violations. “In the past, these vessels have facilitated illegal trade and terrorist activities, and have also been sanctioned by the US. Brazil is a sovereign nation, but we firmly believe that these ships should not dock anywhere,” the ambassador said on the 15th in her first press conference in Brazil.
On Wednesday, the U.S. government again criticized the maneuver. “We want to make sure that the Revolutionary Guard of Iran and Iran more broadly are not able to acquire a position of prominence and get leverage through others in this hemisphere. Certainly the Brazilian government or the Brazilian people would not want to do something that would help a government, a regime that is responsible for brutal and violent repression against its own people,” said Ned Price, spokesman for the US State Department.
The Israeli government also protested. Lior Haiat, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, published a note on his Twitter account calling the Brazilian action “dangerous and regrettable.
Estadao found out that the fraternization inside the frigate was a private ceremony, restricted to diplomats from both countries and with the orientation not to disclose photos. In general, in this type of ceremony, there is a speech from each diplomat alluding to the relationship between the countries and the Navy officers. In the case of Iran, they do not serve alcoholic drinks and when they hold events like this one at the embassy, they serve typical dishes.
The ships arrived in Brazil on Sunday, 26, and has authorization from the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) to remain until next Saturday, 4. The Iris Makran is considered a “monster of the sea”, with 230 meters and about 120 thousand tons. More than an oil tanker converted into a helicopter carrier, the ship can launch large, missile-armed, or spy drones.
According to the US Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence services, the Makran houses on board an advanced electronic data collection, communications eavesdropping, and area surveillance center. In the Iranian Navy flotilla visiting Brazil, the frigate Iris Dena escorts the large Makran. At 1,300 tons, the vessel fires cruise missiles with a range of 1,200 km and 533mm torpedoes.
Itamaraty informed that there are no requests to extend the authorization to stay in the Brazilian coast. When asked about the list of those sent to the ceremony, the ministry did not comment. The expectation is that, at the weekend, the vessels will leave Brazil and return to Iran.
The ships had a first approval to dock between the end of January. However, the maneuver would occur shortly before the state visit of President Lula to U.S. President Joe Biden. The entry of the ships was postponed to the end of February, given the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.
In the House, Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro (PL-SP) criticized the authorization to the Iranian ships. “(Brazil is) The only country in Latin America that submits to the tastes of Iran. (The arrival of the vessels) Represents a terrorist threat not only to the US, but to the entire region,” he said.
Head of Itamaraty in the government of former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), Carlos França was in Iran in September. On that occasion, he met with his counterpart, Minister Amir Abdollahian, and sought closer relations to “increase trade and implement bilateral agreements,” as Iranian agencies reported. In the same month, Brazil’s Defense, Naval, Army and Aeronautic Attaché in Iran participated in the 14th anniversary ceremony of the Iranian Army Air Defense. The attaché has been present in Iran since 1976.
US Senator Ted Cruz Issues Statement on Iranian Warships in Brazil
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement today after two Iranian warships were allowed by Brazil to dock at a port in Rio de Janeiro:
“The docking of Iranian warships in Brazil is a dangerous development and a direct threat to the safety and security of Americans. The United States has sanctions and antiterrorism laws designed exactly to deter and respond to these threats. 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. President Biden calls Brazilian President da Silva his friend and said he was honored to host him at the White House, and da Silva himself is a Chavista aligned against the United States and our interests, so either these risks were not conveyed or the Brazilians did not care. Nevertheless, our anti-terrorism laws are designed to protect Americans and are not optional. The Biden administration is obligated to impose relevant sanctions, reevaluate Brazil’s cooperation with U.S. antiterrorism efforts, and reexamine whether Brazil is maintaining effective antiterrorism measures at its ports. If the administration does not, Congress should force them to do so.”