With a very few notable exceptions, most DC-based Western Hemisphere policy experts, for years, have downplayed Iran’s influence in the Americas. This would include both Democratic and Republican policymakers and staff.
Granted, after 09/11/01 there was a great deal of anecdotal information in the Latin American media about Iranian activities throughout the region. It has been difficult to separate fact from fiction; however, in recent years that has been changing, in part, because Latin American leaders keep cozying up to the Iranian regime and its supporters. Words and affirmative acts by regional leaders toward the regime are being done much more openly.
To his credit, Members of Congress such as Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), Chairman, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has been calling attention to this issue for some time. As have many others. Every now and then, foreign leaders will do the same. Just this week, according to a recent interview with Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon:
Iran is framing, with the little help of Venezuela, a “terrorist infrastructure” in Latin America against the United States, Israel and their allies. “The idea is framing a terrorist infrastructure to be underlying for a while and in due time be able to attack the interests of the United States or in the United States,” as well as “Israeli or Jewish interests or of any other country opposed to their political stance.”
Iran has been seeding the Americas with its poison since at least before the terrorist attacks in Argentina in the 1990s. Because we have not taken that threat seriously, they are now perched in places close to the U.S. border such as Mexico, Nicaragua, and others. It’s a good sign that more and more leaders are recognizing the threat and that steps need to be taken to deal with it.
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