KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The international airport under construction at Argyle might have affected the way St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) voted on a United Nations Iran resolution in 2009, which condemned violence in Iran and expressed support for the dissidents there.
Further, a diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, released by WikiLeaks this week, suggests that the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves government will continue to support Iran as long the Tehran is likely to provide financial assistance to the airport project.
SVG has planned to support the resolution but abstained from the vote.
Kingstown established diplomatic relations with Tehran in Aug. 2008 and immediately secured a commitment by Tehran to assist in the construction of the EC$650 million airport.
Gonsalves visited Iran in June 2009 and in the Oct. 26 meeting told American officials that he was displeased with the images of abuse displayed during Iran’s presidential election, the cable said.
The document quoted Gonsalves as saying that his trip to Tehran showed an apparent lack of religious diversity.
“He noted specifically that his desire to learn more about the Bahai community in Iran was met with … the response from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that, occasionally, the Bahai faith was used as cover for Israeli intelligence officers.
In a separate meeting, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Louis Straker reminded the American officials that Kingstown was developing relations with Tehran.
“You know our situation,” the cable quoted Sir Louis as saying, alluding to the Kingstown’s attempts to garner financial support from Iran and other countries for airport construction project.
“This effort to secure funding — which had yet to bear fruit — prompted the [government of SVG] to shift its vote on the substantive Iran resolution from in favour to abstention last year, and Straker’s comment made clear this was not likely to change as long as there was a chance of securing Iranian financial support for the government’s signature project,” the 2009 diplomatic communiqué said.