Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will sign bilateral trade agreements with Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, during a diplomatic visit that highlights a growing affinity between the two countries.
The Iranian government has previously been involved with Bolivia’s economy through the development of various industrial and sanitary projects.
In 2007, the two governments signed an accord for US$1.1 billion in which the Iraninan president was set to provide capital for the agricultural and housing sectors in Bolivia. With the financial support of Iranian and Venezuelan governments, the construction of a cement factory in Bolivia is also underway.
While Iran looks for new markets, Bolivia welcomes the strong investment. Morales reinforced the close ties between Iran and Bolivia with two visits to Tehran in 2008 and 2010.
In response to criticism that the government of Bolivia is undermining the strength of international trade embargoes against purchases of Iranian oil, Morales maintains that Bolivia is a sovereign state which chooses its own course of political action.
¨The governments who export terrorism are the governments who send troops to other countries,¨ said Morales in an official statement made in 2009. ¨The United States is a terrorist at the moment.¨
The visit comes a day before the Earth Summit starts in Rio de Janeiro, where discussions about alternative sources of energy, poverty, and the environment top the agenda. After the summit, Ahmadinejad is expected to conduct meetings with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.