Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been promoting Iranian tunnelling during a tour of South American countries Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.

Iraj Milani, a deputy in charge of the Iranian Embassy in Colombia, said the tour was designed to boost bilateral trade and find new opportunities for Iranian construction companies that have expertise in tunnel and dam building. Iranian trade with the region has reportedly been surging and the country is setting up new embassies. “Our government is simply trying to diversify its trading partners and promote more ‘South-South’ collaboration,” said Milani.

Iran has already announced more than 200 joint industrial projects with Venezuela, according to US sources. Political comment in the US appears dominated by the belief that Iran just wants to be a ‘thorn in the side’ of the US in South America.