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Iran Deepens Infiltration of Latin America

by ANTHONY CHIBARIRWE
(United States)

A man once accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism and for doing so with the collusion of certain rogue nations. That didn’t necessarily make him any different from officials in the United States Intelligence Community or State Department or the multiple millions of people who understand that terrifying reality.


What made him different from most people was that he was found dead with a bullet in his head the day before he was scheduled to testify before the Argentine legislature about Iran’s terror network in Latin America and the state support it received in the region.

On Jan. 14, 2015, special prosecutor Alberto Nisman filed a complaint against then Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and some officials in her administration for covering up Iran’s involvement in the worst terrorist attack in Argentine history—the July 18, 1994, bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building, which killed 85 people and wounded more than 300 others. Four days later, Nisman was assassinated.

His investigations had revealed a chilling reality: Iranian diplomacy is synonymous with Iranian terrorism—especially in Central and South America.

Let the world beware when the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism boosts its presence in Latin America—as it has in the wake of the nuclear deal.

‘A Whole New Level’

On August 21, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif embarked on his first official visit to Latin America. For eight days, he led a delegation of 120 Iranian politicians and economists to Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela. His stated purpose was to “strengthen political and economic ties.”

What exactly are the political and economic gains from these partnerships?

Before the Iran nuclear deal, some Latin American nations provided Iran with avenues for skirting sanctions. A June report titled “After Nisman: How the Death of a Prosecutor Revealed Iran’s Growing Influence in the Americas” noted that “in Latin America, Iran engaged in a variety of sanctions-busting schemes in collaboration with the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.”

After the nuclear deal, Iran certainly has more money for strengthening its ties with these nations and less restrictions against its endeavors. While in Cuba, Foreign Minister Zarif acknowledged that the nuclear deal had “removed obstacles” to stronger cooperation between his nation and Latin America. Tehran, he also said, “has always shown that we can win through resistance.”

But from an economic standpoint, the costs do not seem to match the benefits. American Foreign Policy Council Vice President Ilan Berman wrote on September 2, “With the notable exception of Chile, the nations that Iran’s foreign minister is courting are all in dire economic straits, struggling with high levels of inflation, rampant joblessness, and—in the case of Venezuela—a full-blown meltdown of the national economy. These countries thus hardly seem suited to be durable partners for Iran’s economy, which is itself struggling after years of multilateral sanctions.”

“Zarif’s choice of stopping points,” Berman wrote, “suggests that the trip is much more about geopolitics than it is about trade.”

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Zarif’s deputy, said Iran intends to boost those ties to “a whole new level.” Iranian geopolitics in this region is now shifting to “a whole new level.”

The Latin American nations Zarif visited are anti-Western. They are more inclined to befriend “the enemy of their enemies,” even if that support is, in some ways, irrational. Consider Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, who, during Zarif’s visit, praised Iran, saying, “Contrary to the U.S. and other Western powers which employ their power for war, conflict, slaughter and plundering resources of other nations, Iran is the power of peace, tranquility and prosperity for other countries.” In Cuba, Zarif’s counterpart praised the “success of Iran’s foreign policy” and expressed his support for Iran to “develop nuclear energy for pacific ends.”

Read more...https://www.thetrumpet.com/article/14227.2.0.0/middle-east/iran/iran-deepens-infiltration-of-latin-america

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Oct 01, 2016
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by: Luis

So much progress is being made by Iran under the nose of the Obama administration. Why is there no push back? Why would they not be concerned by a known enemy having such influence in our hemisphere? I don't believe that they are not aware of all this.

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