Venezuela emerges as key Iran outpost within reach of continental U.S.

JERUSALEM — Israel has deemed Venezuela serves as Iran’s military and intelligence outpost in South America.

Dec 29, 2010

Officials said Iran has been cooperating with Venezuela on military and nuclear issues. They said Iran was using Venezuela as a launching pad for attacks on the United States.

"Venezuela is Iran’s advance outpost on the Latin American continent," Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said. "The two countries have joined together to create an axis of conventional and nuclear terror that threatens not only the Middle East, but also the continent of America, and the United States in particular."

In a briefing on Dec. 13, Ayalon said Iran was supplying weapons to Venezuela and other South American states. He said a nuclear Iran would endanger security throughout the world, particularly Europe and the Americas.

"A nuclear Iran will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, the threat of long-range missiles in Europe, and the arming of the Latin continent in the backyard of the United States," Ayalon said.

Officials said Iran has been using Venezuela for the production of strategic weapons, particularly medium-range missiles. They said Teheran has also been recruiting other South American states, particularly Bolivia.

Earlier this month, Argentina and Brazil declared their recognition of an independent Palestinian state. Ayalon played down the announcements and said this has not harmed relations with Israel. Brazil has become an emerging defense client of Israel, particularly in the area of unmanned aerial vehicles.

"Israel and Latin America have much in common, and the states can contribute a lot to each other in the fields of the economy, agriculture and technology," Ayalon said.


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