CARACAS — Venezuela on Nov. 3 rejected an Israeli allegation that it has become Iran's "forward base" in Latin America.
Venezuela's Foreign Ministry slammed what it called "aggression against its people" after Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon commented on Tehran's reach in the region, saying Venezuela was its top ally in Latin America.
The remarks were a "sign of the vile, meddling and aggressive attitude" of Israel, the Venezuelan statement said. Venezuela broke off diplomatic ties with Israel in January.
The heated rhetoric came as Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas prepared for regional visits this month.
The Israeli president was due to visit Argentina Nov. 16 with a delegation of Israeli businessmen, Israeli Ambassador to Argentina Daniel Gazit said this week.
Peres and President Cristina Kirchner will discuss the "conflict in the Middle East" and address "Iran's growing influence [in Latin America], its hate-filled ideology and intention to obtain nuclear arms," the diplomat said in Buenos Aires.
Peres will be the first Israeli president to visit Argentina, which has the largest Jewish community in South America at some 300,000.
Abbas in turn was due to visit Argentina Nov. 23, the source added.
Gazit said Peres would also visit Brazil where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to pay an official visit Nov. 23.
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is on the short list of leaders who support Iran's nuclear programme.