Iran’s influence extends to South America


Since the death of General Soleimani in Baghdad on January 2nd as a result of a Drone Strike at the Baghdad International Airport, there has been great consternation that the Trump Administration would take such a bold step and fear that Iran will retaliate for this move.

It is widely held that the Iranian move will take place in the general area (the Middle East & North Africa) against American interests. However, there is a certain part of the world where there is an Iranian Presence that should not be overlooked in determining where the counterstrike will take place.

The region in question is South America. Before one goes off on a tangent regarding whether or not if such a move is indeed feasible, There are two key aspects that we should remind ourselves of. They are History and Politics.

First is the historical point of view. My how fast we as a society have forgotten the strikes that Hizbullah launched against the Israeli Embassy in Argentina back in 1992 and a second one against the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994. Combined these attacks killed 114 people. The outgoing Argentine Government declared Hezbollah an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) on July 18th, 2019. This date just so happens to be the 25th anniversary of the attack against the cultural center. However, a change in government to the left after the most recent Presidential Elections may be a reason to scrutinize the actions of Argentina more closely now.

The second aspect is political. Of all the nations in South America, the best relationship that Iran currently has overall has to be the relationship with Venezuela. Both nations have what has to be considered to be hostile relations with the United States. Despite its economic woes, Iran has been one of the powers that have been providing an economic lifeline to Caracas. Of particular interest to Tehran is the Gold Mines, not the Oil Sector. But there is another reason to be wary of this particular relationship.

A major concern currently among analysts are reports that the IRGC (Islamic Republic Guard Corps) has a Military Base in Venezuela. There are several key reasons to monitor this situation. First of all if verified this does give Iran a springboard to launch operations against US Interests in South America. The obvious bullseye would be first on Colombia due to its close relations with the United States.

Secondly some of the other fears that the chattering class currently have such as cyberattacks etc would not be directly originate from Iran. This is a design that is presented to goad the US into attacking a Third Party causing collateral damage and creating a major PR disaster for the Administration weakening it even further as the Impeachment Crisis muddles along.

There are two other nations that Iran could reach out to as well for support. They are Cuba and Nicaragua. Both have tense relations with Washington. The Trump Administration reimposed the sanctions program that the previous Obama Administration began to roll back. The Cuban Economy has been negatively impacted by this and seeks relief. President Ortega of Nicaragua has long been a thorn in the side of the United States. How Senor Ortega will react has yet to be seen.

Although it should be addressed as a stretch, there is a genuine risk that Iran does have the ability to strike against the United States or its interests in this Hemisphere on a scale that it should not be taken lightly.


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Specialist in US Policy (Security, Assymetrical Operations and Business Development) towards Africa and Arab World (Washington DC – USA)

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