Univision, the largest TV broadcaster in Spanish of the United States, recently presented a report showing that Iran is actively preparing an attack against the US to be carried out from bases in Latin America. The documentary, "La Amenaza Irani" ("The Iranian Threat"), illustrated, though undercover footage, how the growing economic, political and military ties Iran has developed in South American countries are rapidly evolving into a tangible threat for the security of the US. The documentary reveals exclusive findings, including secret video and audio recordings that provide information about a planned Iranian-backed cyber attack against the United States from Mexico.
The videos shown were part of a seven month investigation during which a team of journalists tracked the expansion of Iranian interests in the Latin America – including money laundering and drug trafficking activities by terrorist groups supported by Iran. In Venezuela, the team managed to infiltrate Iranian military training camps organized from Iranian-financed mosques within the country.
The documentary also confirms that Iran is behind money laundering and drug trafficking activities that are used to support Islamist networks and training camps in Venezuela and elsewhere, with the ultimate goal of undermining American interests in Latin America and inside the US.
The team of journalist also infiltrated the diplomatic milieu in Mexico with the help of young university students who posed as spies and offered their services to different officials from Iran, Venezuela and Cuba for carrying out a cybernetic attack on sensitive American targets that would cripple U.S. computer systems of command centers such as the White House, the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and different US nuclear plants.
One of the officials contacted was former Ambassador of Iran to Mexico, Mohamad Hassan Ghadiri, who was videoed while accepting the help of the Mexican students for carrying out a major informatics attack to the US. Univision reports that during his stay in Mexico, Ghadiri "embarked on a campaign to increase the presence of Iran in Mexico. His plan even included a project to open a consulate in Tijuana." The TV channel also reported that Ghadiri tried to grant access into Mexico to Edgardo Ruben Assad, an Islamic activist accused by Argentina of participating in the attacks on Jewish organizations in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994. Ghadiri is shown in the documentary as accepting a plan to launch from Mexico a cyber war on the U.S. Similar attitudes were found with Venezuelan and Cuban high officials, all very interested in supporting an Iranian-sponsored plot against the US.
The idea of the Iranian officials is to create a network of people in South America. One Mexican student was invited to Iran to study Islam for two months. He was ordered to learn about the Islamic religion and the Islamic revolution in order to be sent back to Mexico to preach Islam. While in Iran, the infiltrated Mexican met Muslims from Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia , all of whom had converted to Islam and were studying to open mosques back in Latin America. "One of the Iranian sheiks, Ali Qomi, when I first gained his trust, told me that what they are now doing is waging an intellectual war; what they are planning to do is prepare people with information so that they can attack the masses intellectually. This is what they are doing directly from Qom. Precisely in Qom,"said the undercover student, who was risking his life in Iran.
In a press release, Univision said that it had at its disposal "tens of hours of secret recordings, and had conducted extensive interviews with people who participated in the meetings, including a former Iranian ambassador; and [that they had] examined documents ranging from hand-written notes to internal federal reports, and obtained an unpublished video of a failed bomb attack against New York's JFK airport."
Univision's cry of alarm against Iranian activities in South America is not the first of its kind. Iran's ties with Venezuela have been growing steadily during the presidency of Hugo Chavez. Iran also enjoys excellent relations with countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, not to mention the South American giants, Argentina and Brazil. The improvement of these relations has gone hand in hand with the expansion of Islamist groups in South America, in particular Hezbollah, which once were relegated to the Tri-Border Area (Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina). Siince then, they have been expanding their zone of interest farther and farther north to reach Venezuela and Mexico, at the doorstep of the US.
The United Stated has constantly underestimated the danger coming from Iranian activities both in Iran and in South America. In particular, the Obama administration has failed to confront the Iranian threat with effective firmness. After his election, President Barack Obama declared that he was willing to talk to Iran "without pre-conditions,",only to receive, in exchange, threats from the Iranian regime. "La Amenaza Irani" is a courageous testament to investigative journalism. It warns of a genuine threat to be dealt with utmost urgency. Let us hope that its warning does not fall, once again, on deaf ears in Washington.