U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement concerning a top Iranian official, Ali Saeidlo, who is on a tour of Latin American nations including Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, to promote the next Non Aligned Movement summit to be held in Iran this August:
"As responsible nations castigate and sanction Iran to force it to abandon its dangerous nuclear weapons program, Latin American despots roll out the red carpet for Iranian leaders.
"Earlier this year, Iran's Ahmadinejad completed his "Tour of Tyrants' to the region and now an Iranian "Vice President' is following up with his very own stops in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador. Reportedly, Iran recently signed an agreement to supply oil products to Ecuador, is planning on signing a $2 billion oil deal with Venezuela, and is seeking to forgive Nicaragua's debt. If this proves true, it is yet another sign of Tehran's comprehensive efforts to buy influence in Latin America with a clear agenda of subverting our foreign policy. Yet, the Obama Administration refuses to recognize the seriousness of this threat.
"My colleagues and I have urged this Administration to take a more proactive approach against the Iranian threat in our Hemisphere. Earlier this month, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon and I sent a letter to the President requesting an outline of the steps his Administration has undertaken to counter Iranian influence in the Western Hemisphere. We anxiously await his response, as time is not on our side, and as the Iranian regime is aggressively ramping up its presence and operations in our own Hemisphere."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen and U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to President Obama asking detailed questions regarding the Administration's actions to counter the threat of Iranian activity in the Western Hemisphere.