Nicaragua signs accords with Iran amid nuclear dispute

Teheran to fund farm equipment plant, tractors, hydroelectric plants, milk-processing plants, health clinic, houses and piers in exchange for coffee, meat and bananas.

ortega 88 (photo credit: )
ortega 88
(photo credit: )
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega signed a series of accords with Iran on Saturday despite criticism from the United States, which has tussled with the Middle Eastern nation recently over its uranium enrichment program and alleged support of Shiite militias in Iraq. Under the accords, Iran will fund a farm equipment assembly plant, 4,000 tractors, four hydroelectric plants, five milk-processing plants, a health clinic, 10,000 houses, and two piers in the western port of Corinto, government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said. In exchange Nicaragua will export coffee, meat and bananas to Iran. The signing ceremony, led by Ortega and Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, came one week after the US ambassador to Nicaragua warned the Central American nation about its increasingly close ties with Iran. Ortega traveled to Teheran in June to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Iran can be a dangerous partner," Ambassador Paul Trivelli said. He softened the warning by adding that those ties "do not affect the good relations between Nicaraguans and Americans." The US accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons and fueling violence in Iraq through its alleged support of the militias. Teheran has denied the allegations.