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Iran boosts Qods shock troops in Venezuela
Pentagon predicts U.S. clash with Islamist paramilitary
Iran is increasing its paramilitary Qods force operatives in Venezuela while covertly continuing supplies of weapons and explosives to Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Pentagon’s first report to Congress on Tehran’s military.
The report on Iranian military power provides new details on the group known formally as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Islamist shock troops deployed around the world to advance Iranian interests. The unit is aligned with terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, North Africa and Latin America, and the report warns that U.S. forces are likely to battle the Iranian paramilitaries in the future.
The Qods force “maintains operational capabilities around the world,” the report says, adding that “it is well established in the Middle East and North Africa and recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela.”
“If U.S. involvement in conflict in these regions deepens, contact with the IRGC-QF, directly or through extremist groups it supports, will be more frequent and consequential,” the report says.
The report provides the first warning in an official U.S. government report about Iranian paramilitary activities in the Western Hemisphere. It also highlights links between Iran and the anti-U.S. government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has been accused of backing Marxist terrorists in Colombia.