AFP: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to visit Brasilia on Wednesday for high-level talks accompanied by a huge trade delegation, according to a top Iranian diplomat.
BRASILIA (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to visit Brasilia on Wednesday for high-level talks accompanied by a huge trade delegation, according to a top Iranian diplomat.
Iran's ambassador to Brazil Mohsen Shaterzadeh said Thursday that 110 representatives from 65 companies representing virtually all sectors of the Iranian economy would accompany Ahmadinejad on his official visit.
"They are entrepreneurs in the oil, gas, petrochemical, agriculture, food, platform construction, mining and auto assembly sectors, among others, and will come to explore business opportunities in Brazil," Shaterzadeh told reporters.
Many of the executives were to meet in Sao Paulo with representatives of Brazilian companies interesting in investing or making business deals in Iran.
Ahmadinejad was also to meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but the two leaders were not expected to discuss nuclear energy, Shaterzadeh said.
Israel, the United States and a slew of Western powers suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons through its nuclear drive, a charge that the Iranians have vehemently denied.
Lula and Ahmadinejad were expected to discuss boosting bilateral trade, which stood at a relatively meagre two billion dollars in 2007 and declined by half last year, with Brazil importing just 50 million dollars of Iranian goods.
According to the Iranian ambassador, the note issued by the Brazilian government last week expressing its "concern" over Ahmadinejad's controversial statements on Israel during a United Nations anti-racism conference would not affect bilateral relations.
"That issue is not on the agenda," he said. "The note also said that the meeting between the two presidents would still take place. Nothing has changed in the relations between the two countries."
During the UN conference on racism in Geneva last month, Ahmadinejad, whose visit has brought the ire of Brazil's Jewish community, called Israel a "racist" and "cruel" regime, prompting 23 European Union delegations to walk out in protest.
Ahmadinejad is expected to also visit Venezuela on the same trip to Latin America.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has been actively courting business with Iran, said April 4 during a visit to Tehran that the Iranian leader and he would be seeing each other to finalize a deal on a joint mining company.