John Kiriakou’s essay on “Iran’s Latin Inroads” is a must read for all concerned with homeland security and international relations. Iran’s influence in Central Eurasia is well documented but did you know:
At the invitation of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Iran has established an ammunition factory, cement factory, and a car assembly plant in Venezuela. Iran Air has established direct air service between Tehran, Syria, and Caracas, Venezuela.
Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo-Mendez selected Hezbollah sympathizer and fundraiser Alejandro Hamed Franco as Foreign Minister. Hezbollah, supported and funded by Iran, has a strong presence in Paraguay. Franco has been denied entry into the U.S.
Bolivian President Evo Morales lifted visa restrictions on Iranians in exchange for a $1.1 billion dollar Iranian investment in Bolivia’s petroleum industry. Iranian state television has also agreed to provide in Bolivia, Spanish language programming of Iranian produced news and programs.
All pose direct threats to the U.S. by allowing for the potential creation of a terrorist base of operations in America’s sphere of influence. An Iranian intelligence presence in Latin America is yet another front in the war against terrorism.
John Kiriakou served as a CIA counterterrorism expert from 1998 to 2004.
He is now working in the private sector.