What's Ahmadinejad getting out of his Latin America tour?

4. It may be just rhetoric

The US has increasingly sounded warnings about Iran’s involvement in Latin America. On Friday, ahead of Ahmadinejad’s trip, a US State Department spokeswoman said, "We are making absolutely clear to countries around the world that now is not the time to be deepening ties – not security ties, not economic ties – with Iran.”

The US placed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil company PDVSA for Chavez’s support of Iran.

Rhetoric is at a hyperbolic high right now, with upcoming presidential elections in the US. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Florida dubbed it the “Tour of Tyrants.” Johnson says that the timing of Ahmadinejad’s trip, as President Barack Obama announced plans to trim defense spending, may give fodder to opponents that Obama is soft on the threat of Iran (even though he says he believes it is coincidence).

“That gives opponents a real card to carry in their hands because it looks as if the US is letting Iran and countries like Iran get away with things in our neighborhood,” he says. 

However, many of Iran’s regional allies, might begin to see their friendship with Iran as too big a liability as the US stands firm, Javedanfar says.

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