The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, arrives this weekend in Brazilian capital BrasÀlia accompanied by a group of 300 people, most of them business men. But more than just doing business, the Iranian leader would love to be able to create a new image for himself.
The visit is going to last a little more than 24 hours, but Ahmadinejad wants to return to Teheran after signing 23 bilateral agreements dealing with trade – from energy and petrochemicals to food and medicinal drugs – and with the hope that the negative perception that he brings to the international scenario can be altered.
For the Iranian authorities, Ahmadinejad's visit to Brazil represents the possibility of reducing the opposition to the president's figure.
The visit has been planned for two years. The original intention was to have it in May, but Ahmadinejad claimed that he needed to deal with electoral problems at home. There are suspicions, however, that the postponement was decided after several criticisms were raised in Brazil against the presence of the Iranian leader.
On Monday, November 23, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's agenda as well as that of his economic area ministers will be devoted to Ahmadinejad and his entourage. Brazilian entrepreneurs led by the Fiesp (São Paulo State Industry Federation) will go to Brasília for meetings with the Iranians.
Reelected in June with about 63% of the votes against 34% of the opposition main candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad in this trip hopes to show that he overcame the domestic resistance to his leadership and that now he is looking for international agreements that will improve life quality in Iran, since the country is under an embargo imposed by the Americans.
Upon landing in Brasília in two planes, Ahmadinejad also wants to leave behind the images shown all over the word of mass protests in Iran against what marchers believe were fraudulent elections. The protests were met with violence by the police and the Basij militia linked to the Revolutionary Guard.Â