At first blush, Argentina seems like an odd choice of partners for the Islamic Republic of Iran. The South American nation holds the dubious distinction of being the first victim of Iranian terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, suffering terrorist attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires that were carried out by Iranian-sponsored radicals in 1992 and 1994. Yet today, relations between Argentina and Iran are unmistakably on the upswing.
In the past two years, the government of Argentina’s leftist President Cristina Fernandez has broken with tradition and increasingly hewed a more conciliatory line toward Iran. This is manifested in growing bilateral trade (totaling some $1.5 billion in 2010), and a more sympathetic diplomatic stance from Buenos Aires. Last September, for example, Argentina’s envoy to the United Nations pointedly broke with previous practice and remained seated during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s inflammatory General Assembly address.