Ahmadinejad Cancels Trip to Brazil

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On Monday JTA and Terra reported that Iranian news agency IRNA announced that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had canceled his upcoming state visit to Brazil, which was scheduled for May 6 at President Lula’s invitation.

Bloomberg News also reported that Iran’s Ahmadinejad Postpones Latin American Trip Indefinitely.

Terra's article stated that following up on the IRNA announcement, Terra contacted the Brazilian President's office, the Foreign Minister and the Iranian Embassy, all of which did not know of the cancellation. Indeed, by mid-afternoon O Globo quoted Ambassador Roberto Jaguaribe: "We continue to prepare normally for the visit." O Globo also reports that Hassan Qashqavi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, confirmed the visit and added, "we seek active cultural, economic and political relationships with Latin American countries."

However, by late afternoon O Globo's top headline was that Brazil's Foreign Office confirmed that Ahmadinejad's visit scheduled for this week had indeed been canceled, and that Ahmadinejad had requested that it be postponed until after the Iranian elections in June. No reason was given for the cancellation.

Ahmadinejad was scheduled to be traveling with 110 representatives from 65 Iranian companies.

On Sunday thousands of demonstrators in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo from Jewish, Christian, human rights, gay, and women's organizations protested Lula's invitation to Ahmadinejad.

The photo above was taken by Brazilian blogger David Bor during yesterday's demonstration in Rio. The large banners read, "Mr. President, explain your invitation," while the smaller ones denounce Iran's homophobia, lack of freedom of the press, women's oppression and racism.

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