Iran and Venezuela, BFF / Why the alliance between Chavez and Ahmadinejad spells danger for America (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS OP-ED) By Shai Baitel 02/20/12)
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"That hill [in front of Venezuela’s presidential Miraflores Palace]
will open up and a big atomic bomb will come out.”
— President Hugo Chavez, in company of visiting Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Caracas, Jan. 9, 2012.
At this, both presidents chuckled. And then Chavez continued: “[T]he
imperialist spokesmen say . . . Ahmadinejad and I are going into the
Miraflores basement now to set our sights on Washington and launch
cannons and missiles. . . . It’s laughable.”
There is nothing laughable about this friendship, however. It is high
time that the international community took seriously the threat that
the Iranian-Venezuelan axis poses for the security of the United
States and its allies.
At a time when the world is rightly focused on the Iranian nuclear
threat and its intentions against Israel, it is also important to not
lose sight of that country’s clandestine dealings in Latin America.
Its activities there serve multiple purposes. None of them is benign.
The trip to Latin America at the beginning of January came at a time
of political turmoil for Ahmadinejad. The government’s brutal
crackdown of the Green Movement after the 2009 elections has not been
forgotten. In addition, there is also the aggravating factor of
economic hardship, made acute by increasing international sanctions.
There is no better way to counter this international isolation,
project strength and sign valuable trade agreements, than by visiting
friends in the Western Hemisphere — namely, radical allies in
Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Cuba, all of whom harbor openly
Arguably, Chavez is Ahmadinejad’s best friend in the region. For
years, Iran’s relations with Venezuela have blossomed. Their
bilateral trade exceeds $40 billion, while Iran has reportedly
entered into more than 150 energy, development, commercial and
financial agreements with Venezuela.
And there are mysterious flights between both countries that do not
accept open bookings. These are widely believed not only to transport
illicit goods and weaponry, but also to carry Iran’s Islamic
Revolutionary Guards Corps officers and even Hezbollah operatives.
According to a German report, both countries agreed in 2010 on the
establishment of a jointly operated military base in Venezuela, as
well as on the joint development of ground-to-ground missiles.
The regime in Caracas has also agreed on allowing a joint military
base where Iranian Shihab 3 and Scud missiles will be deployed.
Venezuela could thus become a base from where Iran is able to strike
(militarily and through terrorist proxies) at America. (© Copyright
2012 NYDailyNews.com. 02/20/12)
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