Bolivia says it is interest in obtaining Iranian drone technology to protect its borders

Bolivia is in obtaining Iranian drone technology to protect its borders and fight smuggling and drug trafficking, the Andean nation’s protection minister confirmed Tuesday, a day after Argentina demanded data on an settlement reached by Iran and Bolivia that has raised safety issues in the area.

Edmundo Novillo dismissed these issues, saying they have been “exaggerated” and got here from an Argentine lawmaker “who, I perceive, has Israeli origins,” whom he didn’t identify.

The minister spoke to the press a day after Argentina’s overseas ministry despatched a be aware to the Bolivian embassy in Buenos Aires requesting data “concerning the scope of the discussions and doable agreements reached” throughout Novillo’s go to to Iran final week.

Bolivian opposition lawmakers additionally filed a request for data after they discovered by means of the media about an alleged protection and safety memorandum of understanding signed between Novillo and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, on July 20.

Novillo characterised issues as an “exaggeration” and a “political present,” speculating that it had to do with the upcoming elections in Argentina and that some sectors of the nation’s proper wing try to use the difficulty for political functions. Argentina will maintain main elections subsequent month forward of presidential elections in October.

Argentina’s overseas ministry declined to touch upon Novillo’s information convention.

The Bolivian minister additionally denied {that a} memorandum of understanding had been signed with Iran, saying solely that he signed an “act” together with his counterpart in Tehran to establish widespread factors of interest. Iran’s state-run information company IRNA had reported on the memorandum of understanding. Neither nation has made the doc public.

Novillo stated Bolivia was in Iranian high-tech drones that may monitor mountainous areas and supply real-time photos to the armed forces, stating that their technology might assist the Andean nation’s efforts to increase border safety.

He didn’t say whether or not Bolivia would buy the drones or if they’d be a donation however the Institute for the Research of Battle (ISW), primarily based in Washington, stated final week that “Iran has sought to enhance the variety of international locations that purchase Iranian drones in latest years.”

Venezuela had beforehand stated it was constructing drones with Iran’s assist, in accordance to Annika Ganzeveld, an Iran analyst for the Crucial Threats Undertaking on the American Enterprise Institute, an ISW associate group.

“President Ebrahim Raisi has proven a better interest in growing relations with South American international locations than his predecessor,” Ganzeveld stated. “Iran’s renewed give attention to Latin America signifies it is attempting to enhance its foothold in this area, particularly by bolstering financial interactions and presumably pursuing arms offers.”

The reported deal raised specific concern in Argentina, the place prosecutors have lengthy alleged that Iranian officers used the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah to perform the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish group middle in Buenos Aires that killed 85 individuals. Iran has denied any involvement in the incident.

“Argentines should stay vigilant and monitor the presence of Iranian brokers in Bolivia who, below the pretext of cooperating on drug trafficking points, will seemingly have interaction in intelligence actions that will affect or have an effect on Argentina,” Jorge Faurie, a former Argentine overseas minister, wrote on social media late Monday.

Novillo stated his go to to Tehran shouldn’t be seen as a “risk,” emphasizing that Bolivia is a “pacifist authorities.”


Politi reported from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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