An attack on the British embassy in Tehran. A desperate pursuit of nuclear weapons. A plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Alone, any one of these actions by Iran’s regime would be cause for alarm, but taken together they make it undeniably clear that the Iranian threat cannot be ignored. Now, there is news of another effort by Iran to take aim at the United States, this time coming from Latin America.
Heritage’s Israel Ortega and James Phillips explain:
Iran is conducting anti-U.S. operations from Latin America, including military training camps in Venezuela, and expanding its reach across the border from the U.S. in Mexico, according to footage unveiled late Thursday by the largest Spanish-language network in the United States, Univision.
The documentary showed a former Iran senior official accepting a plan to launch from Mexico a cyber war on the United States, one that would cripple U.S. computer systems, including the White House, the FBI, the CIA and several nuclear plants. The official, former Iranian Ambassador to Mexico Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri, was shown accepting the offer from undercover Mexican university students. A trailer to the documentary can be seen on Foundry.org.
Other revelations in the documentary include undercover Mexican students presenting plans for the cyber attack to Venezuelan officials in Mexico. Ortega and Phillips write that the Venezuelan official appeared very receptive to the plot, saying that she was close to Venezuela’s hard-leftist President Hugo Chavez and that she would love to share the information with him as soon as possible. The same happened with Cuban officials in Mexico, who were equally interested in a plot against the United States.
The documentary, called “The Iranian Threat,” claims that undercover journalists were also able to infiltrate Iranian military training camps working from mosques in Venezuela, though it showed no actual footage of the camps. Univision alleged there were links between the alleged camps and a radical Muslim implicated in the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing of a synagogue that killed 85 and wounded hundreds. The Iranian lives in Argentina, a country that also has strong ties to Chavez.
Ortega and Phillips write that the “ties between the hard line Islamist government in Tehran and the anti-American government of President Hugo Chavez have been growing for years, including a weekly secretive Cairo-Tehran flight that is of grave concerns to U.S. officials.” They also point out other disturbing findings in the report:
Undercover journalists also confirmed Iranian-backed money-laundry and drug-trafficking cartels that are used to back Islamist networks and training camps in Venezuela and elsewhere, which exist to attack U.S. interests and undermine the U.S. in Latin America.
Univision said in press release that it had “dozens of hours of secret recordings, conducted extensive interviews with people who participated in the meetings, including a former Iranian ambassador, and examined documents ranging from hand-written notes to internal federal reports and obtained unpublished video of a failed bomb attack against New York’s JFK airport. In Mexico, Univision, uncovered covert recordings of the alleged Iranian plan to cripple the computer systems of the White House, the FBI, the CIA and several nuclear power plants.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has failed to confront threats like those that Iran poses to the United States. In August, The Heritage Foundation Counterterrorism Task Force wrote, “The President’s strategy pays insufficient attention to state-sponsored terrorism, which will increasingly be a major force to be reckoned with. Iran is one of the most prominent and aggressive state sponsors of terror and its proteges–both Hamas and Hezbollah–represent potentially grave threats. In addition, transnational criminal cartels in Mexico are increasingly taking on the character of terrorist networks.”
With this latest report from Univision, we are reminded that those threats need to be identified and investigated, even in our own hemisphere. And the Obama Administration can no longer stand on the sidelines as civil liberties and democratic institutions deteriorate in Latin America, allowing for Iran and other rabid anti-American to enter, grow, and threaten the United States.