Iran pledges $350 million for Nicaragua port project
As a major part of a series of trade and economic development projects, Iran has pledged to put up $350 million for a new deepwater port on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua at Monkey Point.
The port would be the first deepwater facility in Nicaragua. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, when announcing the agreement on Saturday, said Venezuela would also contribute to the port development project, According to a Reuters news service report.
'We will work to combine Iranian investment with other friendly countries,' Ortega said. 'Venezuela would be ready and willing to take part in an effort like this.'
Nicaragua has been a concern of the Bush administration since Ortega was elected president in January. The former Marxist leader helped overthrow the Nicaraguan government in 1979, and was part of the ruling group that ran the country until he became president from 1985 to 1990. When he returned to power this year, he said he wanted to continue trade with the United States, but he has alarmed Washington with his deepening ties with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and now with Iran.
In addition to the port project, Ortega said Iran has agreed to build 10,000 new houses in Nicaragua, and will help develop a $120 million hydroelectric plant to help ease Nicaraguan power shortages.
The agreement also calls for Nicaragua to send bananas and coffee to Iran.
Ortega added that Nicaragua has also sought help for its energy problems from Brazil, adding Brazilian President Luiz In'cio Lula de Silva will visit Nicaragua in the near future.