Growing U.S. Fears over Iran's Ties to Latin America

(Inter-American Dialogue) Ray Walser, Douglas Farah, and Michael Shifter - Ray Walser, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation: "Iran likely sees the Americas as a potential platform for waging asymmetric warfare or disruptive terror in the event of a direct conflict with Israel or the United States. Iran also colludes with Hizbullah, which aims to capitalize on South America's cocaine trade to fund its activities. Finally, Venezuela and others like Bolivia are positioned to provide Iran with long-term access to strategic materials, particularly uranium, needed for a nuclear weapons program. The threats posed by Iran and Hizbullah are genuine." Douglas Farah, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center: "The growing Iranian diplomatic, intelligence and economic presence, particularly in the ALBA states (Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua), is a significant danger because the alliance is primarily based on deep and public enmity toward the United States and its allies, including a common doctrine of asymmetrical warfare that explicitly embraces the use of weapons of mass destruction as a legitimate tool to defeat the 'Empire,' as the United States is usually called." Farah: "Iran has been quietly increasing its intelligence ties around the region, recruiting and training students in Iran, exchanging military attaches, building financial institutions through which to move money and working to extract other vital rare earth minerals for its missile and weapons programs." Michael Shifter, president, Inter-American Dialogue: "It is worth stressing that Brazil, the region's economic and political powerhouse, is not part of Ahmadinejad's itinerary this time, as it was in 2009. That is a setback for Iran."

2012-01-11 00:00:00

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