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Congressman Engel Questions Iranian Ties with Brazil

Cites concerns over relationship between countries

Washington, D.C., August 12, 2010 - Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) has told VOA's Spanish Television that growing ties between Iran and Brazil are a "slap in the face" to U.S. President Barack Obama, who is trying to isolate Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

Engel, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs' subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, also called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to investigate Colombian allegations that Venezuela is letting FARC guerillas operate from within its territory.

Congressman Engel told VOA he is "not satisfied" with the explanation that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has provided about his meeting in May with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Engel said he is concerned about the image of President Lula "hugging" Ahmadinejad, and he said the Brazilian-Iranian relationship was a "slap in the face to Barack Obama" during the time he is pushing for sanctions against Tehran. Brazil has said it hopes to boost trade and investment with Iran.

Congressman Engel also said he is "very concerned" about what he described as "very, very serious allegations" recently made by Colombia, that Venezuela is allowing FARC rebels to use Venezuela as a base of operation. Engel, who was critical of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said the Organization of American States should, "investigate the allegations."

The portion of Congressman Engel’s interview dealing with Iran airs on Thursday’s El Mundo al Día (The World Today). Other portions aired Wednesday.

In addition to the daily news program El Mundo al Día, VOA Spanish Television also has a 60-minute weekly TV discussion program, Foro Interamericano (Inter-American Forum). The program features news and interviews with policy makers, along with roundtable discussions with journalists. The program airs Fridays at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 UTC). VOA Spanish language programs are available online at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

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