Bolivia brushes aside Argentina's concern over obtaining drone technology from Iran
Defense Minister Novillo says country wants Iran's drone technology 'to protect its borders and combat smuggling and drug trafficking'
By Esra Tekin
ISTANBUL (AA) – Bolivia has brushed aside Argentina's concern over obtaining drone technology from Iran, saying it wanted to protect its borders and fight drug and smuggling trafficking.
Defense Minister Edmundo Novillo said on Tuesday that the country wanted Iran's drone technology "to protect its borders and combat smuggling and drug trafficking,” according to the Latin Post.
Argentina sent a diplomatic note to the Bolivian Embassy in Buenos Aires recently, asking for information "about the scope of the discussions and possible agreements reached" between Bolivia and Iran, the daily said.
On July 20, Novillo and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Reza Ashtiani signed the agreement. However, the Bolivian government has not disclosed any details of the agreement regarding the procurement of drone technologies.
Novillo, in a statement, downplayed Argentina's concerns, claiming that they are an "exaggeration" and a "political show" due to the upcoming Argentinian elections in October.
Bolivian opposition lawmakers also raised concerns after learning about the deal through the media, according to the local media.
He clarified that the agreement is not a formal memorandum of understanding, but rather an "act" to identify common interests with Tehran, focusing solely on Bolivia's interest in Iran's drone technologies.
The strained relations between Argentina and Iran originated from the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which resulted in the death of 85 people, according to the National News.
The Argentine government has repeatedly accused Iran of being responsible for the attack, which Tehran has denied.
Over the past years, Iran has been increasingly active in Latin America, forging agreements with Venezuela.
Recently, Iran provided Mohajer-6 attack drones to Venezuela, and the latter showcased these new unmanned aircraft during a military event.
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