Eduardo Bolsonaro: Iran is a problem

• MBS is ‘friendly, dynamic and makes everyone comfortable talking to him’ • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will visit the Kingdom next October

Brazilian Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro is seen after a meeting between Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and Paraguay's President Mario Abdo at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil March 12, 2019. REUTERS

OSAKA — Federal Deputy of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Bolsonaro said that Iran’s aggressive behavior is not only a cause for concern in the Middle East, which it constantly destabilizes with its incessant meddling in other countries internal affairs, but also globally as its aggression spreads.

The Iranian regime’s blatant intervention in countries in South America, which Bolsonaro described “as a problem that must stop”, is evident in the region’s rumblings. This disturbing Iranian behavior is not only upsetting the Middle East, but also South America and should stop forthwith.

He stressed, in an interview with Okaz/Saudi Gazette, that Brazil is looking forward to strengthening its relations with Saudi Arabia, which has set out a program of recalibrated economic reforms envisaged by Vision 2030, to form a global economic force. He asserted that Brazil would like to become Saudi Arabia’s first partner in Latin America.

He described Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman as a “dynamic man” who has an ambitious plan to change his country,” noting that Crown Prince Muhammad told him that he wished “to see real development in relations between the two countries before the visit of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to Riyadh next October.”

Eduardo Bolsonaro, the third son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, entered Brazil’s politics in 2015 when he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies.

He was re-elected to a second term as Federal Deputy, being the most voted lawmaker in Brazil’s history after receiving 1.8 million votes. Bolsonaro currently chairs the International Affairs and National Defense Committee in the Council. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Q: How would you describe Saudi-Brazilian relations?

A: Saudi-Brazilian relations are strong and growing, and we need to forge a strong partnership to become a joint global force. We’re aware of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to diversify investments and the economy. We look forward to signing agreements between Brazil and Saudi Arabia to give a further push to the wheel of cooperation in the investment field while enhancing and deepening the partnership between the two countries. We want to become Saudi Arabia’s first partner in Latin America. I would like to add here, that during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro informed the Crown Prince that he would visit the Kingdom in October.

Q: How will this visit help in strengthening relations between the two countries?

A: I believe this visit will help a lot, especially since Brazil is undergoing a fundamental change. We are liberating our economy and changing. We have over 100 companies we want to privatize. We are trying to carry out several economic reforms in taxation regulations, among other laws, to improve the business environment for investors so that they can invest in the infrastructure and energy fields. Also, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has praised the economic improvements we are carrying out. I believe that, if relations between the two countries develop, we will see great outcomes.

Q: Have you met Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman before?

A: No, I met him for the first time during his meeting with the Brazilian president on the sidelines of the G20 summit. He is friendly and dynamic and makes everyone feel comfortable and at ease during discussions. He told us that all the Saudi football clubs have at least one Brazilian player, and the Kingdom is developing jiu-jitsu (martial arts) as a sport in Saudi Arabia. After the bilateral meeting with President Bolsonaro, I walked up to him and introduced myself and gave him my number and he told me that we would stay in touch through WhatsApp. He also told me that he wanted to see an improvement in the relationship between the two countries before the Brazilian president’s visit to Riyadh.

Q: Do you expect to see a rise in trade between the two countries?

A: Yes, of course, for that’s one of the linchpins of growing relations. You have great opportunities, and that would help us a lot.

Q: When will you visit the Kingdom?

A: I plan to visit the Kingdom before President Bolsonaro’s visit, and I am interested to know a lot more about Saudi Arabia.

Q: Do you follow any of the Brazilian players in Saudi Arabia?

A: I do not know much about the presence of Brazilian players in Saudi Arabia, and in fact, I do not watch sports much.

Q: What do you think of the Iranian regime and its continued escalation in the region?

A: It’s a problem. I think the countries in the Middle East are agreed on ‘not liking Iran,’ for the Iranian regime is behind many problems in the region and supports terrorist groups. I think if they continue this behavior, they will face more international sanctions or even another reaction. They can’t keep doing what they’re doing — such as supporting the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon — and meddling in others’ internal affairs without facing any consequence. They even have some hand in the Venezuela crisis, and this behavior not only disturbs and destabilizes the Middle East, but also South America.

Q: What is your opinion about the GCC countries?

A: Yes, I think there are excellent investment opportunities that can be availed in Gulf countries, and we can use these opportunities to export our products to those countries.