Bolivia has dismissed Argentina’s concerns regarding its acquisition of drone technology from Iran. The Bolivian government asserted that its primary aim is to safeguard its borders and combat drug and smuggling trafficking in the region.
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.