Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meets with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in Tehran, December 4, 2023.

Iran, Cuba Seek Stronger Ties Amidst US Sanctions

Tuesday, 12/05/2023

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi held a joint press conference with President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel in Tehran on Monday to elaborate on avenues to develop ties with the Latin American country.

Díaz-Canel, leading a high-ranking political-economic delegation, arrived in Tehran on Sunday. The visit comes at a critical time for both nations, with Cuba grappling with its most severe economic crisis since the disappearance of Soviet subsidies in the 1990s. The island nation is experiencing shortages of food, medicine, and fuel, while Iran is contending with a record depreciation of its currency and rampant inflation.

The meeting marks the first visit by a Cuban president to Iran since 2001 when Fidel Castro traveled to the Islamic Republic. In June, Raisi visited Havana as the final stop of a tour of "friendly countries" in Latin America, including Venezuela.

Iran, facing isolation in the international arena due to its perceived destabilizing actions, is working to strengthen ties with countries that share anti-Western perspectives.

Iran has strategically cultivated alliances with various Latin American countries, such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, for over four decades. Simultaneously, it has sought to influence the region by disseminating its ideology through disinformation campaigns.

Cuba, enduring a long-standing US trade embargo since the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, is actively strengthening ties with key allies such as Russia and China, both of which are also facing US sanctions. The Cuban economy has been significantly affected by the US trade embargo.

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