Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Sunday for a five-day Latin American tour, which U.S. officials have dubbed as a sign of desperation for the country heavily sanctioned over its controversial nuclear program.Ahmadinejad will first visit Venezuela, followed by stops in Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador. Iranian state media quoted the president as praising the "revolutionary spirit" of the leaders of those four countries.
In recent years, the Iranian president has courted leftist, populist and anti-American Latin American leaders, particularly Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, much to Washington's concern.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (file photo)
On Friday, U.S. officials urged Latin American countries not to deepen their ties with Iran. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland accused the Iranian government of being "desperate for friends" and of, what she called, "flailing around" to find new allies.
While on his trip, Ahmadinejad will meet with Venezuela's President Chavez and attend the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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