(more information available here by)
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 26, 2023
The British “Cambridge Middle East and North Africa Forum” reported that “On January 11, 2023, Iran’s naval commander announced that before the end of 2023, Iran would station warships in the Panama Canal [which facilitates 5% of the global maritime trade].”
According to the December 1823 Monroe Doctrine, any intervention by a foreign power in the political affairs of the American continent could be viewed as a potentially hostile act against the US. However, in November 2013, then Secretary of State John Kerry told the Organization of the American States that “the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.”
Is Iran’s dramatic and rogue re-entrenchment in Latin America underscoring the relevance/irrelevance of the Monroe Doctrine? Does it vindicate John Kerry’s assessment?
Latin America and the Ayatollahs’ anti-US strategy
*Since the February 1979 eruption of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Ayatollahs have leveraged the US diplomatic option (toward Iran’s Ayatollahs) and the accompanying mega-billion dollar benefit (to Iran’s Ayatollahs) as a major engine, bolstering their anti-US rogue policy, regionally and globally.
*The threat posed to the US by Iran’s Ayatollahs is not limited to the survival of the pro-US Arab regimes in the Middle East and the stability of Central Asia, Europe and North and West Africa. The threat extends to Latin America up to the US-Mexico border. The Ayatollahs poke the US in the eye in a most vulnerable geo-strategic area, which directly impacts the US homeland.
*Iran’s penetration of Latin America – the backyard of the US and its soft belly – has been a top national security priority of the Ayatollahs since assuming power in February 1979. The Ayatollahs’ re-entrenchment in Latin America has been assisted by their Hezbollah proxy, driven by their 1,400-year-old mega imperialistic goal (toppling all “apostate” Sunni regimes and bringing the “infidel” West to submission), which requires overcoming the mega hurdle (“the Great American Satan”), the development of mega military capabilities (conventional, ballistic and nuclear) and the adoption of an apocalyptic state of mind.
*Iran’s penetration of Latin America has been based on the anti-U.S. agenda of most Latin American governments, which has transcended the striking ideological and religious differences between the anti-US, socialist, secular Latin American governments and the fanatic Shiite Ayatollahs. The overriding joint aim has been to erode the strategic stature of the US in its own backyard, and subsequently (as far as the Ayatollahs are concerned) in the US homeland, through a network of sleeper cells.
*Iran’s penetration of Latin America has been a hydra-like multi-faceted structure, focusing on the lawless tri-border-areas of Argentina-Paraguay-Brazil and Chile-Peru-Bolivia, as well as Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua and all other anti-US governments. It involves a growing collaboration with all regional terror organizations, the leading drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Brazil and Bolivia, global money launderers and every anti-US government in Latin America. Moreover, the Ayatollahs have established terror-training camps in Latin America, as well as sophisticated media facilities and cultural/proselytizing centers. They have exported to the region ballistic technologies, predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment.
Latin America and the Ayatollahs’ anti-US tactics
*According to the Cambridge MENAF (ibid), the Brazilian navy reported that two Iranian warships have been granted permission to dock in Brazil. Experts speculate that the vessels could reach the Panama Canal as early as mid-February 2024. The presence of Iranian warships in the Panama Canal threatens not only Western security, but the safety and reliability of one of the world’s key trade routes.
“The gradual permeation of Iranian influence across Latin America over the past 40 years is a significant phenomenon, which has paved the way for this recent strategic move by Teheran. Attention is concentrated toward Iran’s criminal and terrorist network [in Latin America] via Hezbollah operations….”
*Wikileaks cables claim that Secret US diplomatic reports alleged that Iranian engineers have visited Venezuela searching for uranium deposits…. in exchange for assistance in their own nuclear programs. The Chile-based bnAmericas reported that “Iranian experts with knowledge of the most uranium-rich areas in Venezuela are allegedly extracting the mineral under the guise of mining and tractor assembly companies…. Planes are prohibited from flying over the location of the plant…. The Iranian state-owned Impasco, which has a gold mining concession in Venezuela, is linked to Iran’s nuclear program. Its Venezuela mine is located in one of the most uranium-rich areas, which has no-fly restrictions….”
*According to the June 2022 Iran-Venezuela 20-year-agreement (military, oil, economy), Iran received the title over one million hectares of Venezuelan land, which could be employed for the testing of advanced Iranian ballistic systems. Similar agreements were signed by Iran with Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia.
*Venezuela has issued fraudulent passports, national IDs and birth certificates to Iranian officials and terrorists, avoiding international sanctions and blunting counter-terrorism measures. The Iran-Venezuela air traffic has grown significantly, although tourism activity has been marginal….
*Since the early 1980s, Iran’s Ayatollahs have leveraged the networking of Hezbollah terrorists in the very large and successful Lebanese communities in Latin America (and West Africa). Hezbollah’s narcotrafficking, money laundering, crime and terror infrastructure have yielded billions of dollars to both Hezbollah and Iran. The US Department of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that Hezbollah earns about $2bn annually through illegal drug trafficking and weapon proliferation in the Tri Border Area of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, expanding ties with the most violent drug cartels in Latin America, including Mexico’s Los Zetas, Colombia’s FARC and Brazil’s PCC, impacting drug trafficking, crime and terror in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Iran has intensified its Hezbollah-assisted intelligence missions against US and Israeli targets in Latin America and beyond. Hezbollah has leveraged its stronghold, the Bekaa Valley, in Lebanon, which is one of the largest opium and hashish producing areas in the world.
The bottom line
The track record of the Ayatollahs, including the surge of their rogue presence in Latin America, documents the self-destructive nature of the diplomatic option toward Iran – which has served as a most effective tailwind of the Ayatollahs’ anti US agenda – and the self-defeating assumptions that the Ayatollahs are amenable to good-faith negotiation, peaceful-coexistence with their Sunni Arab neighbors and the abandonment of their 1,400-year-old fanatical imperialistic vision.