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Why is Israel's Shimon Peres in Brazil and Argentina? Iran.

For the first time in 40 years, an Israeli president is paying a state visit to Brazil. Israel President Shimon Peres began a week-long visit to Brazil and Argentina today. A key reason: Iran's growing influence in Latin America.

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The Iranian ambassador to Brazil, amidst the clout of Peres’s visit, spoke up today to defend his host country’s ability to invite whichever world leaders it please: “Today, Brazil is a strong, independent country, and, certainly, this independence does not [allow for] the intervention of other countries,” said Iranian ambassador Mohsen Shaterzadeh, according to the Rio de Janeiro-based daily O Globo.

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Brazil has a sizable Shiite Muslim population in the states of Paraná and São Paulo, which is one reason the it maintains open relations with Iran, according to Sabatini.

Argentina: Remembrance of bombings linger
That’s not the Argentine way. It’s taken the opposite tack from Brazil and collaborated more so with the US in isolating Iran.

That’s both because of Buenos Aires’ “large, vocal [and] politically powerful” Jewish population, says Sabatini, and the not-too-distant memories of the 1992 bombings of the Israeli embassy there, which killed 29, and the ’94 car bombing that killed 85 at the Israelite Mutual Association. Argentina accuses Iran of masterminding that attack.

Mr. Peres will preside over a memorial service for the victims of the embassy attack in Buenos Aires.

Iran: Did it build that mosque in Managua?
Iran’s current intentions in Latin America have increasingly come under watch, though whether its proposed projects in the region have been carried out or are largely examples of unfulfilled promises is anyone's guess.

Since Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005, Iran has opened new embassies in Colombia, Nicaragua, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Boliva – and added ones to Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Venezuela, according to the Washington Post.

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