Ortega Snubs US, Seals Iran Trade Pact

US wary of Iranian toehold in Latin American 'backyard'
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2007 4:19 AM CDT
Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Nicaragua has finalized a trade deal with Iran worth hundreds of millions of dollars despite bitter opposition from Washington, the Guardian reports. The deal will exchange Nicaraguan  bananas, coffee and meat for farm equipment and Iranian funds for infrastructure projects, including a hydroelectric dam, milk-processing plants, housing and a health clinic.

The agreement came only a week after the US ambassador to Nicaragua bluntly warned that "Iran can be a dangerous partner." President Daniel Ortega needs the investment  to address the prolonged poverty and unemployment that has plagued his tenure and made voters restive; he recently strengthened ties to Cuba, North Korea, Algeria and Libya as well.