Analysis

Iranian Shadow Over Latin American Terror, Crime
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the funeral of the late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela, March 8, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
March 30, 2013
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa, The Americas
Summary
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Iran has joined self-declared U.S. enemies in the Western Hemisphere in a bid to undermine the United States, charges U.S. ambassador to Venezuela and Latin America expert Otto Reich, in an exclusive interview with LIGNET. At first glance, it appears Tehran is simply opening embassies and cultural centers in Latin America but, as LIGNET explains, its dealings there are far more sinister.
Iran’s ties to Venezuela are clear, but Tehran’s tentacles now reach to Ecuador, where it may be colluding to avoid financial sanctions, and Bolivia, where the Iranian government now sponsors a military college. Iran’s terrorist proxy group, Hezbollah, has long used a lawless border region in South America to freely sell drugs and weapons. Meanwhile, the United States neglects the region; its southern border is widely considered the “soft underbelly” of U.S. defenses and governments in the hemisphere already are united with Tehran in their hatred of all things American.
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