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Israel Criticizes Brazil For Allowing Iranian Warships To Dock At Its Port

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Israel criticized Brazil on Thursday for allowing two Iranian warships to dock there despite pressure from the United States and encouraged President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s administration to remove them.

On Sunday, the ships anchored in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil reportedly turned down their admission in January as a show of goodwill from Lula before he traveled to Washington to meet with Joe Biden, according to British news agency Reuters.

Since decades, Israel and Iran have been engaged in a conflict akin to the Cold War, which has included allegations of maritime sabotage from both sides and increased international pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme and regional behavior.

The Brazilian berth for the warships was described as “a dangerous and regretful development” by Lior Haiat, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He also accused the Iranian navy of working with sanctioned organizations in Tehran.

Haiat wrote on Twitter that it was still possible to direct the ships to depart the port.

Tensions with the United States have also been brought on by the ships. The US ambassador to Brazil had pleaded not to permit the ships to dock, in a news conference on February 15.

Following the docking on Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz demanded sanctions be imposed on the South American nation, calling it “a direct threat to the welfare and security of Americans.”

“The Biden administration is obligated to impose relevant sanctions, re-evaluate Brazil’s cooperation with US antiterrorism efforts, and re-examine whether Brazil is maintaining effective antiterrorism measures at its ports,” Republican Cruz said in a statement.

A Brazilian newspaper reported on February 23 that the warships had been granted authorization to dock between February 26 and March 4.

One of Lula’s efforts to improve Brazil’s international status during his previous presidential terms was diplomacy with Iran. In an effort to mediate a nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States, he went to Tehran in 2010 to speak with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the country’s then-president.

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