Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday that the United States “still lives in the Cold War era”. He was referring to a new law enacted by the U.S. president aimed at countering Tehran’s alleged influence in Latin America.
Mehmanparast blasted U.S. President Barack Obama and said the “Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act” was an overt play at intervention in the region.
The United States, he said, “still lives in the Cold War era and considers Latin America as its back yard”, AFP news agency reported.
On Friday, Obama enacted the law which aims to counter Iran’s alleged influence in Latin America via a new diplomatic and political strategy designed by the U.S. State Department.
The act, passed by lawmakers earlier in 2012, calls for the strategy to be developed within 180 days. The aim is to “address Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity” in the region.
The text also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to bolster surveillance at U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico to “prevent operatives from Iran, the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), its Quds Force, Hezbollah or any other terrorist organization from entering the United States”.
However, senior State Department and intelligence officials have indicated there is no apparent indication of illicit activities by Iran.
“It is an overt intervention in Latin American affairs... that shows they are not familiar with new world relations,” Mehmanparast said of the U.S.
“We recommend that they respect the nations’ right in today’s world... world public opinion does not accept such an interventionist move”, he added.
Mehmanparast said Tehran’s relation’s with all nations, in particular with Latin American countries, was “friendly” and based on “mutual respect and interest”.
Iran, placed under a series of international sanctions because of its suspected nuclear program, has opened six new embassies in the Middle East region since 2005 - bringing the total to 11 - and 17 cultural centers.