Iranian president embarks on Latin American tour

Tehran, Jan 8 (IANS) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left for Venezuela Sunday to start a four-leg Latin American tour that will also take him to Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador, IRNA news agency reported.

Ahead of his departure, Ahmadinejad told reporters that the existing relations between Iran and Latin American states are cordial and growing, Xinhua reported.

The Iranian president is scheduled to exchange views and discuss issues of mutual interests, including those concerning the Middle East and north Africa, the European economic crisis and the US ties, during this official visit, said Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi Saturday.

The Iranian president has said that the Islamic republic gives high priority to expanding its relations with Latin American nations.

Iran has expanded ties with some Latin American states, including Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil, since Ahmadinejad took the president office in 2005.