Republican senator criticizes Brazil over Iran warships, calls for sanctions

“The docking of Iranian warships in Brazil is a dangerous development and a direct threat to the safety and security of Americans,” the senator said.

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A top Republican senator blasted Brazil on Tuesday for allowing Iranian warships to dock at a port in Rio de Janeiro.

The IRIS Makran and IRIS Dena warships docked in Brazil over the weekend after the Lula government gave them the green light.

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Washington’s efforts to push Brazil not to allow the warships to dock were rebuffed.

“The docking of Iranian warships in Brazil is a dangerous development and a direct threat to the safety and security of Americans,” Senator Ted Cruz said in a statement.

Cruz said the warships were already sanctioned, meaning the Brazilian port where they docked was now at risk of US sanctions. He also warned that Brazilian and foreign companies that provided the ships with services could be sanctioned.

US President Joe Biden has touted the new Brazilian president as a friend and invited him to visit the White House earlier this year.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a leftist, ousted Javier Bolsonaro, who was seen as close to former US President Donald Trump, in the presidential elections.

“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,” Cruz said of the Iranian warships docking in Brazil.

He called on the Biden administration to impose sanctions and reevaluate US-Brazilian ties. “If the administration does not, Congress should force them to do so,” Cruz said.

In January, when news surfaced that Brazil had granted the Iranian request, Lula postponed the decision. He met with Biden at the White House days later.

Lula spent 580 days in jail after his first stint as Brazilian president for corruption and money laundering. He has also been staunchly opposed to US sanctions against Iran.

Read more: Brazil allows two Iranian warships to dock in Rio despite US pressure

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