Bolivia's Defense Minister has expressed an interest in Iranian drones for what he called boosting border security and combating drug smuggling.
Edmundo Novillo Aguilar said that Iranian high-tech drones are capable of monitoring mountainous regions and providing real-time imagery which would greatly aid the Latin American country’s armed forces.
The announcement came amidst rising security concerns in Latin America, triggered by an agreement reached between Iran and Bolivia last week, which has drawn scrutiny from neighboring countries, notably Argentina.
However, Novillio dismissed the Argentinian concerns saying that they are exaggerated and that they might be politically motivated. "The concerns raised by a certain Argentine lawmaker, whom I understand has Israeli origins, are unfounded and appear to be a political show, possibly related to the upcoming elections in Argentina,” he said.
Responding to opposition lawmakers' requests for information on an alleged defense and security memorandum of understanding with Iran during his visit to Tehran, Novillo claimed that no formal memorandum was signed. The minister also refrained from specifying whether the drones would be purchased or provided as a donation.
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington, Iran has been keen on expanding the number of countries using its drone technology. Venezuela had earlier acknowledged collaborating with Iran in developing drones.
Iran's defense partnerships in the region raise concerns due to its opaque international behavior. Fears include exporting radical ideologies and unconventional arms, potentially interfering in South American affairs, and troubling the US.