Iran leader cancels Brazil visit

Photo: karimii,flickr

Photo: karimii,flickr

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has cancelled a visit to Brazil scheduled for Wednesday, Agencia Brasil, the country’s government news agency said.

The planned visit, which angered Jewish and human rights groups, led to protests in Brazil.

Before the announcement, opponents of the visit argued Brazil should not be rolling out the red carpet to a leader who has repeatedly questioned whether the holocaust took place and openly supports the oppression of women and the persecution of homosexuals.

Though Iran insists its nuclear energy programme is for peaceful purposes only, western governments are worried about its intentions, given Ahmadinejad has questioned neighbouring Israel´s right to exist.
On April 20, a speech by Ahmadinejad at a United Nations Security Council anti-racism conference sparked a walkout by diplomats from western nations.

The following day, Brazil’s foreign ministry issued a softly-worded statement saying it would use this week’s meeting to raise the issue of discrimination with Ahmadinejad and while it sees dialogue as crucial, the government is concerned about the Iranian leader’s comments “diminshing the significance of the holocaust.”

Ahmadinejad has also dropped plans to visit Ecuador and Venezuela Agencia Brasil, said.

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