Iranian Terror Links to Maduro Regime in Venezuela Threat to U.S.

Tasnim News Agency via Wikimedia Commons

Iran’s direct support for the repressive and illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela has grown dramatically recently. In its highest visibility form, this support was seen with the sanctions-busting Iranian oil tankers sailing through North American waters this summer.

Additionally, Iran’s national Mahan Air, an airline linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) made nearly 20 trips to Venezuela in a brief period this year. In return, the Iranian terror-regime got nearly half a billion dollars in Venezuelan gold bars in its “oil for gold” exchange.

But Iran is getting much more than just gold from Maduro.

We now have a report from a highly respected Washington, D.C. think tank that shows direct ties between Iranian terror proxies Hezbollah, and the Maduro dictatorship, as well as the involvement of the IRGC in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America.

The report, published by the Atlantic Council and the Center for a Secure Free Society, notes that Maduro’s regime has resisted U.S. pressure and sanctions by forming “an extensive relationship with several foreign terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah and its terror sponsor the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

As the Washington Free Beacon says, “The relationship is centered on keeping the anti-U.S. Maduro in power and solidifying Iran’s terrorist footprint in Latin America, which has long served as an operational hub for Hezbollah forces.”

In return for the lifeline provided by Iran’s oil and gasoline shipments, the report claims, Maduro has opened Venezuela to Iranian operatives and terror affiliates like Hezbollah. This new report of Iranian-Venezuelan terror links in the Western Hemisphere should renew concerns about threats at the U.S. southern border.

According to the report, “The Hezbollah support network in Venezuela is embedded to the Maduro regime’s illicit economies of drugs, weapons, gold, contraband, etc. moving through a trade-based money-laundering network (TBML) based out of Colombia and Panama.”

But the ties extend beyond just Hezbollah, notes the report. Iran’s IRGC is also active in Venezuela and the rest of the region. The terrorist regime’s paramilitary force operates in Venezuela “due to the heightened capability of Hezbollah’s support network,” says the report, adding, “Hezbollah’s influence within, and infiltration of, Lebanese expat communities gives Iran a gateway to grow its footprint in Venezuela.”

The Free Beacon notes that “By integrating itself into Venezuela’s rogue economy, Hezbollah and other Iranian affiliates have been able to launder the money needed to fund their operations.” It notes further that:

Hezbollah has gained the ability to obtain “countless government ID documents” from the Maduro regime, allowing the terror group’s operatives unfettered travel across the region.

Fortunately, the Trump administration’s Department of Justice exposed some of this network this summer, writes The Free Beacon, when it indicted Adel El Zabayar, a former member of Venezuela’s National Assembly, for working to establish “a crime-terror pipeline that the Maduro regime used to facilitate a ‘cocaine-for-weapons’ scheme between Hezbollah and Colombia’s FARC.”

However, this threat is only continuing to grow and metastasize. Much more U.S. attention needs to be directed to this growing threat in America’s backyard.

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Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Patricia Oakes
9 months ago

Keep that damn vile islamic crap out of our country! And get that illegal Madura the hell out of that office and put the real president in!

Jojodmonkey
Jojodmonkey
9 months ago

Remove all the public law enforcement officers from the borders and let the good old boys take over! We won’t live by the democrat rules!

Tom
Tom
9 months ago

People responding to this article who favor war with Iran or Venezuela, are again being suckered into it by the same Anglo-American war party that drew the US into invading Iraq. Who is going to have hold of the reigns of power after November 3rd? Will it be the globalists who intend to usher in a final solution that ends the existence of our Republic behind a fraudulent victory for puppet Biden? Or will the fight this President has been fighting virtually alone, succeed in breaking this nation free from the grips of the deep state, permanent government bureaucracy that has emasculated this nation since the assassination of JFK? There is no other issue that isn’t subsumed by this one. Either we destroy the fascist Anglo-American forces behind the Biden Presidential campaign, starting with the reelection of President Trump, or, the United States as we know it no longer exist!!

Gene Ralno
Gene Ralno
9 months ago

In response to any terrorism originating in Venezuela, I believe Trump would simply take Maduro out along with a long list of Iranian officials and operatives. Paraphrasing an old proverb, if they come at the U.S., they better not miss.

DOMINIC PASQUAROSA
DOMINIC PASQUAROSA
9 months ago

Communism and Islam go hand-in-hand i see. I guess allah approves!


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