Iran trade with LatAm tripled despite Israeli angst
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
New data released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows Iran's trade with Latin America tripled to $2.9 billion in 2008.
The report gives Brazil as the largest trade partner of Iran in Latin America with a turn-around of about $1.3 billion last year, says the Latin Business Chronicle.
Since taking office in 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expanded Iran's cooperation with many Latin American states, including Venezuela and Cuba.
President Ahmadinejad went on a five-day visit to five African and South American countries including Brazil last week.
The report says Iran's trade with Latin America has experienced a 240.2 percent increase last year from 2007.
Iranian exports to South American states jumped by 85.2 percent to $337.6 million in the same period.
The IMF says Argentina increased its exports to Iran from $29 million in 2007 to $1.2 billion last year becoming Iran's second largest trade partner in Latin America.
Total trade between Iran and Venezuela reached $51.8 million last year, a 30.8 percent increase.
Iran's close ties with Latin American states, particularly Brazil, is a major cause of concern both to Israel and its staunch ally, the US.
Ahmadinejad's Latin American trip came just days after Israeli president Shimon Peres completed a tour to Latin America aimed at rallying support against Tehran.