Ahmadinejad postpones trip to Brazil

Cancellation of large delegation set to discuss trade comes amid protests across Latin America.

ahmadinejad the monkeys paw 248 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
ahmadinejad the monkeys paw 248 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday canceled his visit to Brazil, without giving an explanation, according to the Iranian news agency IRNA. The visit, which was to include a delegation of over a hundred officials, was meant to focus on expanding trade between the two countries. Senior Brazilian official Roberto Jaguaribe told reporters that the visit would be rescheduled for after the June 12 presidential elections in Iran, though there was speculation that the trip was canceled due to recent protests in Latin America. An AFP report quoted officials as saying that Iranian Ambassador to Brazil Mohsen Shaterzadeh had given Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a letter from Ahmadinejad which requested that he "accept the postponement of the official visit until... after the presidential election." On Sunday, thousands of Brazilian Jews and non-Jews demonstrated in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro against the Iranian president's visit to their country, which was scheduled for Wednesday. In Sao Paulo, some 1,000 people including secular and Orthodox Jews, as well as Evangelical Christians, homosexuals and Gypsies, gathered in a major square to protest. In Rio, another 1,000 demonstrators walked along Ipanema beach carrying signs and shouting messages against terrorism, homophobia and racism. Ahmadinejad had planned to visit Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador, according to the Iranian Embassy in Brasilia. The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had declared that da Silva would express his discontent with Ahmadinejad's description of Israel as a "cruel and racist" entity.