Iran is trying to take advantage of the uprisings in the Arab world to spread its influence. The Kuwaiti daily Al-Seyassah reported that Tehran is recruiting and training Shiites from Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, which are oppose their Sunni-dominated regimes.

Iran is trying to push the Arab uprisings in countries with a Shiite population from anti-government protests to sectarian violence, with the aim of toppling Sunni-dominated regimes to have new governments under the Iran's influence. Saudi Arabia understands that sectarian violence could endanger Sunnis' rule, especially in countries like Bahrain which has a Shiite majority. In order to safeguard the borders of the Sunni-world, therefore, Saudi Arabia is deploying its troops in Bahrain to prevent the ousting of the Sunni regime there. The ultimate battlefield, though, between Shiites and Sunnis over the rule of the Muslim world will be in Iraq.

Tehran is already preparing for this scenario with the help of Latin American countries such as Venezuela. Al-Seyassah has published reports about Iranian training camps on the border between Venezuela and Colombia, where Shiites from the Arab world are taught to make bombs, carry out assassinations, kidnap people and transport hostages to other locations. These training camps are run by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in cooperation with Hezbollah and Hamas.

The newspaper reports that the Shiite trainees fly to Caracas via Damascus, probably on the Venezuelan airline Conviasa, which covers the Caracas-Damascus-Tehran route. The weekly Conviasa's flights to Tehran are a cause for concern in Washington, due to the lack of transparency about what or whom they might be transporting.. The Kuwaiti paper mentions as well the trainees' presence in Colombia. The Iranian government allegedly enjoys in Latin America the support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Colombian group, the FARC, which derives its primary source of income from drug trafficking. It is not a coincidence, therefore, that Al-Seyassah mentions that Iran finances its militias through narco-trafficking.

Iran's support in Latin America should worry the US. The Iranian regime is expanding its ties and its influence in the US's backyard, and helping groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas finding new safe havens for their terrorist activities. Recently, Uruguay also showed strong interest in strengthening relations with Teheran. The Uruguayan Foreign Minister even went so far as to hail Iran's role in the promotion of human rights in the world.

From the Middle Eastern press:

  • Speaker of Venezuela's National Assembly: Islamic Revolution has influenced freedom-seeking movements in the world
  • "Iran's Revolution is a main symbol and role model"
  • Iran trains Kuwaiti, Bahraini and Saudi opposition in Venezuela
  • Hamas' support to Iran
  • Iran finances its militias through drug trafficking
  • Iranian FM: "Iran and Venezuela can complete each other's role in the Middle East and Latin America"
  • Uruguay resisted Bush's pressure over relations with Iran: Uruguayan FM
  • Uruguayan FM hails Iran's promotion of human rights
  • Iranian, Uruguayan Officials Urge Expansion of Bilateral Ties
  • Uruguay is seeking profound and strong relations with Tehran

April 30, 2011

Speaker of Venezuela's National Assembly: Islamic Revolution has influenced freedom-seeking movements in the world

Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution has deeply and strongly influenced independence and freedom-seeking movements in the world, the Speaker of Venezuela's National Assembly, Fernando Soto Rojas, stressed. The Venezuelan lawmaker raised the issue in a meeting with Tehran's Ambassador to Caracas, Abdolreza Mesri […]. Rojas described the Islamic Revolution as the most important independence-seeking move and development during the last 100 years.

"Iran's Revolution is a main symbol and role model"

"Iran's Revolution is a main symbol and role model for those nations that are seeking to get rid of the reign of imperialism to rely on their national power and potentials," he repeated. He further lauded Iran's economic and technical achievements, and the Iranian nation's resistance against the US expansionist policies and attitudes.

During the meeting, the Iranian diplomat pointed out that the two countries enjoy the needed capacities to further expand their bilateral ties; and underlined that Tehran is resolved to boost its relations with Venezuela in all fields. […] The strong and rapidly growing ties between Iran and Venezuela have raised eyebrows in the US and its western allies, as Tehran and Caracas have forged an alliance against the imperialist and colonialist powers and are striving hard to reinvigorate their relations with the other independent countries which pursue a line of policy independent from the US. Fars News Agency (Iran)

April 28, 2011

Iran trains Kuwaiti, Bahraini and Saudi opposition in Venezuela

Iran's Revolutionary Guard is allegedly training a large number of Kuwaitis, Bahrainis and Saudis in a private training camp located in […] a remote area near the borders of Venezuela and Colombia, and intends to use them to carry out terrorist activities within their respective countries and other areas across the world in case Iran is attacked militarily, [Kuwaiti] Al-Seyassah daily quoted a reliable source as saying.

The trainees are first sent to the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, or the Colombian capital, Bogota, via Damascus; and from there, they are sent to the border region in cars, one of the militants who broke away from the Iranian group told the daily.

Hamas's support to Iran

Reportedly, the training camp is run by some Iranian intelligence officers and others affiliated to the Revolutionary Guard, in cooperation with Hezbollah and Hamas. The trainees were given courses in making bombs, carrying out assassinations, kidnapping people and transporting hostages to other locations.

The trainees have been instructed to act in case there is a war against Iran. According to the plan, all embassies of the Gulf countries, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and in Latin America were to be targeted. These bombings, however, will not be carried out by Iranian Shiites, but mercenaries from poorer countries like Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia, I addition to some other supporters from Hamas and other individuals, so that Iranian involvement will not even be suspected.

Iran finances its militias through drug trafficking

When asked about the financing of this militia, the source said the money Iran makes through drug trafficking, and that money laundering is equal to the budget of some countries. […] Arab Times Online

April 23, 2011

Iranian FM: "Iran and Venezuela can complete each other's role in the Middle East and Latin America"

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro stressed expansion of mutual ties. "Iran and Venezuela can complete each other's role in the Middle East and Latin America for sure," said Salehi in a meeting with Maduro in Tehran […]. Nicolas Maduro arrived in Tehran on Friday for talks with Iranian officials. Salehi then called for the international community to consider regional realities such as criticizing unfair policies and adoption of dual-track policy by the West on regional developments, and particularly on Libya and Bahrain. […] ISNA (Iran)

April 21, 2011

'Enemies cannot mar Iran-Ecuador ties'

Ecuador's National Assembly speaker says "the negative propaganda" by the enemies of Iran and Ecuador will not be able to harm Tehran-Quito ties. [Ecuador's National Assembly speaker] Fernando Cordero Cueva said that those who oppose close ties between Iran and Ecuador have launched a propaganda campaign aimed at marring the positive relations between the two states. "But this negative propaganda cannot prevent the expansion of ties between Iran and Ecuador," he was quoted as saying by Fars news agency […].

In February, the Iranian president, in a meeting with Cueva in Tehran, described Iran and Ecuador as two "revolutionary nations" seeking to achieve "lofty ideals." During that meeting, the Ecuadorian National Assembly speaker said the two countries are on the same front when it comes to fighting imperialism, and that Tehran and Quito follow common goals in the international arena. Press TV (Iran)

April 10, 2011

Uruguay resisted Bush's pressure over relations with Iran: Uruguayan FM

The Uruguayan foreign minister said that Uruguay resisted the pressure exerted by former U.S. President George W. Bush's administration to reduce ties with Iran. [Uruguayan FM] Luis Leonardo Almagro Lemes made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran […]

"After Bush delivered a speech against Iran in Uruguay, a U.S. delegation visited our country (to pressure it over its relations with Iran). But despite all efforts and pressure, Uruguay is seeking to promote its ties with independent governments and nations like Iran," Almagro stated. Although Iran is currently the target of criticism from certain Western countries, Montevideo is keen to promote its cooperation with Tehran, he added.

Uruguayan FM hails Iran's promotion of human rights

The foreign minister of Uruguay also hailed Iran's efforts to promote social justice and human rights. Ahmadinejad said, "The future belongs to independent and justice-seeking nations, so the two nations (Iran and Uruguay) will stand by each other forever." The two countries should promote their cooperation and utilize their great potential to help promote a new world order, he stated. Ahmadinejad added that both states are opposed to injustice and oppression, and that this has brought the Iranian and Uruguayan nations very close to one another. […] Tehran Times (Iran)

April 10, 2011

Iranian, Uruguayan Officials Urge Expansion of Bilateral Ties

The Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaoddin Boroujerdi, and Uruguay's visiting Foreign Minister. Luis Almagro, in a meeting here in Tehran […] called for the enhancement of ties and cooperation between the two states. At the meeting, Boroujerdi noted the two countries' growing relations, and said, "All conditions are present for taking long strides towards the expansion of relations between the two countries in the different political, parliamentary, economic and technical grounds." […] Almagro, for his part, attached much importance to the development of his country's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and said that the increased exchange of visits between the two countries' officials indicates Tehran and Montevideo's political will for expanding ties in different political, trade, cultural and technical fields. […]

[…] Almagro met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, where the Iranian chief executive underlined Tehran's resolve to further increase all-out cooperation with Montevideo. "Under such conditions that the oppressive order ruling the world is moving towards demise and the world needs a fair order, the two countries can have further cooperation with each other in various fields," Ahmadinejad said at the meeting.

Uruguay is seeking profound and strong relations with Tehran

Pointing to Iran and Uruguay's positive and constructive relations in recent years, he said, "All the existing potentials have not been utilized and the current conditions necessitate us to activate all our capacities in the interest of our nations."

During the meeting, Almagro referred to the positive and age-old relations between the two countries, and said that despite the pressures and an allegation raised against Iran by certain world powers, Uruguay is seeking profound and strong relations with Tehran. […] In January 2011, the Iranian president met with the visiting Speaker of Uruguay's House of Representative, Ivonne Passada, […] in Tehran. During Passada's Tehran visit, Iran and Uruguay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on boosting parliamentary cooperation between the two states. Fars News Agency (Iran)

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