Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was looking forward to a warm homecoming when he returned to Tehran Wednesday, Jan. 17, from his Latin American tour. Instead, he had to fight off a volley of criticism for his performance on all fronts – from his economic policy and his show of contempt for the Majlis, to his nuclear stance and collaborative ventures with anti-US regimes in South America.
Pretending he was still riding high, the president tried boasting of his triumphs across the ocean in an interview with the radical conservative Resaat.
“Ahmadinejad,” he declared proudly, “managed to breathe down the back of America’s neck.”
His boasts fell flat. Many Iranians saw his trip as not only superfluous, but overpriced and overly-provocative of America and the rest of the world, when Tehran was already up to its neck in hot water over its nuclear program.
Kargozaran, a publication which speaks for Iran’s self-styled reform-seekers wrote: How come the president hands over two billion dollars without a by-your-leave from any competent body or permission from parliament? Iranian law requires even $20 million to be authorized by the Majlis. Forking out this colossal sum could land Iran in deep trouble (Ed. with America).”
Ahmadinejad faced the ire of scores of lawmakers for junketing in South America instead of meeting the deadline for submitting to parliament the new annual budget for the year beginning on March 21.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources in Tehran report that Ahmadinejad flew to America aboard an official airplane with a party of more than 120, half of whom at least were members of Iran’s security forces, such as the Revolutionary Guards intelligence branch, the intelligence ministry, the bureau for the export of revolution (attached to the office of supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), the Islamic propaganda organization and the foreign intelligence department of the president’s office.
They are all dedicated to the proposition that the Islamic Republic must take its war into enemy territory. To pursue this principle, it is necessary to create bases of attack close to the enemy’s frontiers.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez concurred with this view, particularly when his guests from Tehran waved the princely sum of two billion dollars for subversive activities against the United States. The money would fund the training of intelligence and terrorist teams, recruiting Latin American migrants to North America for subversive action inside the United States and activating special teams in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Diego and Florida for mapping sensitive military and civilian targets.
In Nicaragua and Ecuador, the Iranian president’s welcome was cool. The recently re-elected President Daniel Ortega is treading carefully to erase his Marxist revolutionary image of the 1980s and mend his fences with the United States. Ecuador’s president Rafael Corea was also reluctant to sign off onto deals with Tehran that might complicate his relations with Washington.