Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Cuba {heart} Iran: Love-terror

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

You may recall that a few years ago I recommended this book:
Jon B. Perdue, director of the Latin American program at the Fund for American Studies, has written THE must-read book about our hemisphere, The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism.

The title refers to Hugo Chavez’s name for his war on U.S. “imperialism”, an ideological and political, violent war involving Iran, terrorist organizations from around the world, and drug money.

Now we have the Obama administration cozying up to Cuba and Iran (Ace has much more on the awful Iran deal), after having declared “the Monroe Doctrine is over.”

Meanwhile, Iran strives for hegemony.

Jaime Suchlicki writes on Cuba’s love for the ayatollahs (h/t Babalu):From Havana to Tehran
The strange love affair between a theocracy and an atheistic dictatorship.

Communist Cuba’s alliance with the Iran of the Ayatollahs dates to 1979, when Fidel Castro became one of the first heads of state to recognize the Islamic Republic’s radical clerics. Addressing then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, Castro insisted that there was “no contradiction between revolution and religion,” an ecumenical principle that has guided Cuba’s relations with Iran and other Islamic regimes. Over the next two decades, Castro fostered a unique relationship between secular communist Cuba and theocratic Iran, united by a common hatred of the United States and the liberal, democratic West — and by substantial material interests. (In the photo, Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Cuba’s Vice Foreign Minister Marcos Rodriguez attend a wreath-laying ceremony on Revolution Square in Havana on Sept. 7, 2011.)

Suchlicki recommends that Washington address Havana’s troublesome alliances with rogue regimes; I’m cynical enough to say it already has.

How a German trial relates to the #Nisman case

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Roya Hakakian explains Germany’s commitment to justice:
Iran’s Assassins in Berlin
The determination of the prosecutor, the press, and the Iranian exile community made all the difference in Germany, where the courts ruled against Iran’s highest leaders.

[Investigator Bruno] Jost had a major advantage. He was investigating in the shadow of the World War II blunders and the fundamental transformations that the German justice system had undergone. By the time the trial was set to begin, Tehran was no longer the focus of popular attention. Now, it was Germany, herself, on trial, with something grand to prove about her own credibility and the authenticity of her reformation.

In contrast,

Whether the same spirit can cross over into another continent to move the course of the Argentines’ investigation is to be seen. But this much is for sure: The sum of the 1994 AMIA bombing, Iran’s lethal role, the misconduct of former President Carlos Menem, an alleged conspiracy to halt the nuclear negotiations, the mysterious murder of Alberto Nisman, and the alleged corruption of President Cristina Kirchner or the Argentine Intelligence all add up to something larger. It is about Argentina herself, the state of her republic, and whether the ghosts of its dirty past are truly buried or still lurking in the shadows.

This us a must-read.

Venezuela-Iran’s Aeroterror: Airplanes full of drugs & money

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Remember those direct Tehran-Caracas flights I posted about in 2008? The ones La Stampa reported about? (click on image to enlarge)

Well, they carried (carry?) terrorists, drugs, and money:
AEROTERROR: A regular flight from Caracas to Tehran carried more drugs and money than people

High-level Venezuelan defectors then started talking to Veja journalist Leonardo Coutinho. They told Veja that Aeroterror came to be a biweekly flight that carried drugs and cash to finance Iran’s activities in South America, and that it would stop in Damascus to pick up fake passports and other documents to ensure that Iran’s agents could move freely once they arrived in Caracas.

Aeroterror. Let that sink in for a moment.

Reports indicate that Chavez and Ahmadinejad planned Aeroterror at a meeting Caracas back in 2007, during which Ahmadinejad also asked Chavez to help him get Argentina to help Iran with its nuclear program. Since then, Iran has only strengthened its ties to South America.

Alberto Nisman was on the trail early on,

. . . Nisman published a report on the same subjects that he took to Interpol in 2007 — Iranian officials threatened to arrest Nisman after it was presented.

Veja’s article, Venezuela vendia passagens fantasmas para o “aeroterror”O voo que fez a rota Caracas-Damasco-Teerã entre 2007 e 2010 era deficitário, mas passageiros comuns nunca conseguiam fazer reserva em um de seus assentos, pois o avião destinava-se a transportar drogas, terroristas e dinheiro

According to Chavez exiles in the United States, the flights were used to carry dozens of Islamic extremists who had to travel to the West, from Iran and Syria, unnoticed.

It is unclear if the flights are still continuing.

The #Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Ben Cohen writes about The Nisman Case and the Whitewashing of Iran

Consider, for example, the alleged role of the Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani, in whom President Barack Obama has placed so much faith regarding negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Rouhani was not among the Iranian officials named by Nisman in his 2006 report. The Miami Herald columnist Andres Oppenheimer, however, revealed in a January 21 article that Nisman had told him about an Iranian witness who had reported that Rouhani had been a member of a special-intelligence committee, “which in 1994 was overseeing secret operations abroad, including the AMIA bombing.” Oppenheimer wrote that Nisman “added privately that he believed in [the witness’s] testimony, and that as a member of the committee Rouhani was likely to have known of the AMIA bombing plan.”

Such a promising lead should be pursued. But the Argentine government is incapable and unwilling to do so, and the current American administration is determined to let nothing obstruct its pursuit of a nuclear deal with the Iranians.

Read the whole thing, keeping in mind

Iranian Leader Khamenei: Death to America; Obama Is Trying to Turn Our People against the Regime

Venezuela-Iran-Argentina: Cash for nukes

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Mary O’Grady writes about the deal:
Iran and Argentina: The Defectors’ Tale
Three former Venezuelan insiders say Hugo Chávez brokered a cash-for-nuclear-technology deal.

The first favor they described, according to Veja, was that Argentina would cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish community center (known by its Spanish initials as AMIA) in Buenos Aires. The second favor was that Argentina would “share their long experience in [a] heavy-water nuclear reactor, an old-fashioned, expensive and complicated system but one that allows plutonium to be obtained from natural uranium.”

And then there were cash transfers,

The unnamed defectors claim that among other means to manipulate Argentina in favor of Iran, Venezuela arranged direct cash transfers. In August 2007, when Argentine customs officials discovered a suitcase containing an undeclared $800,000 in a plane from Venezuela, most observers chalked it up to Chávez’s efforts to spread his influence around the region. But one of the defectors told Veja that the loot was a gift from Iran for Mrs. Kirchner’s presidential campaign.

The claim in the Veja story that the cash originated in Iran and that a twice monthly Caracas-Damascus-Tehran flight between 2007 and 2010 facilitated its transfer to Venezuela is interesting. Veja notes that Venezuela’s then-foreign minister Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah, now the governor of Aragua and a bigwig in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, played a key role in running those flights.

I’ve been blogging on the secret flights for over half a decade, and also about the possibility of an Iranian missile base in Venezuela.

Alberto Nisman’s investigation unearthed more information,

Iran was sore about that according to Nisman’s 2006 indictment of the Iranians. “There is sufficient evidence to prove that the [AMIA] attack was carried out in Argentina owing to the Argentine government’s unilateral decision to terminate the nuclear materials and technology supply agreements that had been concluded some years previously between Argentina and Iran,” the Nisman report said. The same report says that “at this period the Iranian government felt that it was crucial for Iran to develop its nuclear capacities.”

It looks like Nisman was about to blow the lid with more findings . . . and then he was murdered.

Iran, Argentina, Venezuela, Chavez, and Nisman

Friday, March 20th, 2015

More from Humire’s testimony at the House Subcommittee on the Wesyern Hemisphere (emphasis added):

Iran’s aggressive posture in obtaining items, materials and technology from Latin America that benefit both it’s [sic] nuclear program and ballistic missile program are at the heart of what led to the death of Dr. Nisman.

In his final term as president, the late Hugo Chávez became an prominent player in Argentina’s foreign policy. Buying out approximately $10 billion of Argentine debt, Chávez gained an inordinate amount of influence over that country, particularly over
their president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Since 2007, Venezuela began nuclear cooperation with Argentina for the development of its own nuclear reactor. At the same time, Venezuela began its military transfers to Iran. Parallel to this nuclear cooperation were several joint financial agreements between Argentina and Venezuela centered around agricultural and social projects. Many of these projects did not materialize, however, millions of dollars tied to these projects still moved between both countries.

Argentina’s nuclear program, which dates back to the 1950s, has been dormant since the 1980s. President Fernández de Kirchner gave the nuclear program new life in 2011. The Veja article released this month, mentions Argentina’s nuclear technology and capability as Iran’s primary objective for their rapprochement with that country.

The question remains to what degree is Argentina’s new nuclear ambition tied to Iran’s intent to attain this technology? And has Venezuela’s own defunct nuclear program and triangulated trade with Argentina served the purpose of helping Iran? Perhaps Dr. Nisman knew more than he reported. Unfortunately he is no longer with us.

Related:
Lawmakers warn of links between Cuba, Iran, Venezuela

Bombshell report alleges Argentina, Iran, and Venezuela were once all bound together by sex, drugs, and nuclear secrets

New photos reveal expanding reach of Iran in Venezuela and other parts of Latin America

Video below (starts right away)

(more…)

Today’s must-read: What Nisman Said About Iran UPDATED

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Read Richard Horowitz’s article at World Policy Institute, What Nisman Said About Iran in full.

It starts with Nismam‘s own words,

“It can be said with certainty that the highest-echelon Iranian government officials were directly responsible for the AMIA attack . . .We will show that said officials made the decision to carry out the attack, defined the manner in which it was to be implemented, and instructed the terrorist organization Hezbollah to carry out the operation in its capacity as a mere instrument, in this case, of the will of the Teheran government . . We will also show that for Iran’s leaders, there was nothing unusual or exceptional about the realization of an attack of this nature. To the contrary: an analysis of the information that has been gathered in this case shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the realization of acts of terrorism abroad was not the outgrowth of an unusual foreign policy instrument, but was instead based on the principles of the Iranian revolution of February 1979, the ultimate goal of these principles being to propagate Iran’s fundamentalist view of Islam throughout the world.”

The Nisman Report (2006)

Related:
‘If Argentina wants our support we will give it’
Israeli Agriculture minister tells the [Buenos Aires] Herald Iran is the main sponsor of international terrorist attacks

And, may I remind you? Iran no longer on Terror Threat List.

UPDATE:
An excellent resource on Nisman and his investigation: AlbertoNisman.org



Venezuela: Was Iran behind the colectivos?

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

From the [pdf file] WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF
JOSEPH M. HUMIRE
CO-AUTHOR
IRAN’S STRATEGIC PENETRATION OF LATIN AMERICA
BEFORE THE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE (WHEM)
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
HEARING ON
“IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH IN THE WESTERN
HEMISPHERE”


To most, the Venezuelan government’s ability to brutally stifle student protests, is a capacity developed by the Cuban regime whose intelligence and military direct many aspects of Venezuela’s national security apparatus. While mostly true, this excludes another vital player that has enhanced Venezuela’s foreign internal defense, the Iranian paramilitary force known as the Basij.

In April 2009, the current Iranian commander of the Basij paramilitary force, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, accompanied then-Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on a high-level visit to Caracas at the invitation of then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his foreign minister (now President) Nicolas Maduro. Gen. Naqdi’s role in these high-level meetings was to serve as an advisor to Venezuela’s Ministries of Defense and Interior to aid in training their civilian militias, known as the infamous colectivos’. Years later, the results of this advisory support are evident on the streets of Venezuela as the colectivos’ tactics are a step-up in its previous capabilities, to include new clandestine communication and infiltration/espionage techniques.

Gen. Naqdi, who previously served as the Iranian Police Force’s counterintelligence chief, has a long list of human rights violations dating back to the 1999 student protests in Iran.

Iran no longer on Terror Threat List. Many in LatAm will be happy.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

This week’s “smart diplomacy” news:
U.S. Omits Iran and Hezbollah From Terror Threat List

An annual security assessment presented to the U.S. Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, has excluded Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah from its list of terror threats to U.S. interests, despite both being consistently included as threats in previous years.
. . .
In a previous report from January 2014, Clapper included Iran and Hezbollah in the ‘Terrorism’ section, writing that both “continue to directly threaten the interests of U.S. allies. Hizballah [sic] has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s”. Iran was also given its own sub-heading in the ‘Terrorism’ section of such assessments in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Any evidence that Iran and Hezbollah have changed their ways?

No; instead,

“I think that we are looking at a quid pro quo, where Iran helps us with counter-terrorism and we facilitate their nuclear ambitions and cut down on our labelling of them as terrorists,” says [professor of political science at Northeastern University and member at the Council of Foreign Relations Max] Abrahms.

In the wake of Alberto Nisman‘s death, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect some smiling faces in Argentina. As you may recall, a congressional committee had invited him to testify [in 2013] about Iran’s spy network in Latin America and its alleged role in a plot to bomb John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

Last December, the government fired a powerful spy chief who was Nisman’s lead investigator. The prosecutor retaliated with a bombshell: He accused the president, her foreign minister and other political figures of conspiring to absolve the accused Iranians in exchange for commercial deals. Iranian diplomat Mohsen Rabbani, a top suspect in the 1994 attack, participated in secret talks, according to Nisman’s criminal complaint.

Argentine spies “negotiated with Mohsen Rabbani,” an indignant Nisman said in a television interview on Jan. 14. “Not just with the state that protects the terrorists, but also with the terrorists.”

The Argentine government denied his allegations.

Indeed, back in 2006,

Nisman charged senior Iranian officials and leaders of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah with plotting the AMIA attack

Some others at the Tri-border area will be happy.

Let’s not forget Venezuela, which for years has been helping Iran dodge UN sanctions and use Venezuelan aircraft to ship missile parts to Syria. The monthly flight allegedly

flew from Caracas carrying cocaine to be distributed to Hezbollah in Damascus and sold. The plane then went to Tehran carrying Venezuelan passports and other documents that helped Iranian terrorists travel around the world undetected.

Of course, the regime in Cuba, where Hezbollah has established a center of operations in Cuba in order to expand its terrorist activity and facilitate an attack on an Israeli target in South America, is already happy.

Related:
The Terror-Crime Nexus

Sing it!

Argentina: Pollicita appeals dismissal of #Nisman’s suit

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Federal prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita appealed the dismissal of the suit Alberto Nisman filed days before his murder:
Prosecutor Appeals Dismissal of Accusations Against Argentina’s President
Appellate court must now decide if allegations against Kirchner merit further investigation

Last month, Mr. Pollicita asked Judge Rafecas to open an investigation into accusations that Mrs. Kirchner, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, and others tried to sabotage a yearslong probe into the attack, which killed 85 people at the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, or AMIA, in Buenos Aires.

But the judge declined to investigate, saying no crime had been committed and that while an investigation might uncover additional facts they would be irrelevant to the coverup allegations.

“Only by carrying out a proper investigation and obtaining all of the facts, based on the participation of all parties, we will be able to decide if it is reasonable to file charges or, in contrast, if it the charges should be definitively thrown out,” Mr. Pollicita said in his appeal.

I hope Mr. Pollicita’s security detail can be trusted.