The regimes of Iran & Venezuela go way back

It is no coincidence that the regime’s of Iran and Venezuela have tag-teamed in a display of “resistance” against U.S. sanctions to score a few cheap political points through sheer propaganda that will only last a few weeks max. Iran has been sending five tankers to Venezuela and the main purpose is to show defiance in the face of measures taken by the Trump administration against both regimes.

Tehran and Caracas have been boasting about an “anti-imperialist” victory of bypassing sanctions through the transfer of 1.5 million liters of gasoline and petrochemicals from Iran to Venezuela. Of course, it goes without saying that there are high suspicions there is much more involved here than a mere transfer of oil-related goods and far more malign objectives are at stake here.

Lesser discussed in the media, however, is the fact that both regimes in Caracas and Tehran were able to take full advantage of the careless appeasement policy practiced by the Obama administration. This is the main topic of this blog.

Recently, Iran has been bailing out Maduro by sending:

-blending components used for producing gasoline

-workers, equipment for oil refining

-and discussed sending gasoline cargoes into Venezuela

(And remember Iran says it needs money to address COVID-19.)

Mahan Air (designated as a terrorist entity), associated directly to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC-designated by the State Department as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”) has direct flights between Iran and Venezuela.

  1. Flight W5138 from Tehran to Las Piedras (Source)
  2. another Mahan Air Airbus A340-600 from Iran to Venezuela
  3. April 27—Mahan Air A340s landing in Caracas

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Iran did not establish such strong ties with the Chavez/Maduro regime in Venezuela overnight. Back in 2011, former president Hugo Chavez agreed to permit Iran build missile bases in the South American country. And the Obama administration denied everything.

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“The U.S. State Department said it reviews all information pertaining to Iranian military involvement in the hemisphere, but that it could not vouch for the report,” according to a CNN reported on May 21, 2011. Keep in mind this is just a year prior to the start of Obama’s secret talks with Iran in Oman over the regime’s controversial nuclear dossier that paved the path for the infamous 2015 nuclear deal.

“We have no evidence to support this claim & therefore no reason to believe the assertions made in the article are credible,” Obama’s State Department added.

Maduro, Chavez’ Foreign Minister at the time, described the allegations as an “extravagant lie.” He is seen in this image with his then Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.

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The cozy relationship between Tehran and Caracas goes all the way back to the early days of Obama’s tenure.

“The missile base is part of a pattern that began in March 2009, when President Obama met Chavez at an Organization of American States meeting in Trinidad,” The Daily Caller wrote on January 3, 2011.

President Obama shook hands with the dictator, as usual, and said he wanted to be friends and reset US-Venezuelan relations. Chavez responded by presenting Obama with a book that claims the United States plunders Latin America,” the piece adds, indicating a clear lesson in “Appeasement 101.”

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Seeing such reactions from Obama, Iran felt the confidence with its plans and was establishing a very dangerous relationship with the Chaves/Maduro regime in Venezuela, involving uranium & Hezbollah sleeper cells, as reports show.

“Iran uses Venezuela and other Latin American countries as havens for its terrorists. For months Hezbollah, Iran’s terror army, has metastasized across our undefended border with Mexico to set up sleeper cells in our cities. And now we learn a senior Hezbollah thug was appointed as Venezuela’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Syria?” The Daily Caller asked.

Iran was also quite busy establishing at least three Iranian missile bases in Venezuela, according to another damning report.

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And years later, “the radicals ruling Iran are emboldened by the confusion of the Obama administration in confronting Iran’s nuclear program,” as put by a Fox News piece. Obama, of course, had broader issues in mind with Tehran & went the distance to prevent any interruptions.

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There’s more when you dig into it with simple googling, one stumbles upon the utterly corrupt nature of the Iran-Venezuela relationship. “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook” was a bombshell Politico report that explained the distance Obama went to keep Iran’s mullahs pleased, even if it endangered the lives of the American people.

“… the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah,” the report reads in part.

It is mind boggling how many millions of people were placed at risk as a result of drug trafficked into the U.S. by the Iran/Hezbollah-linked network. ““The eight-year investigation came to a head just as the Obama administration was negotiating a deal for Iran to put aside their nuclear ambitions,” according to The Telegraph. Priorities, priorities, priorities.

Iran-backed Hezbollah’s sophisticated $1 billion-a-year drug network was actively involved in laundering money and smuggling cocaine into the United States. However, Obama’s departments of Justice and Treasury constantly undermined agents’ efforts to arrest and prosecute important members of the criminal ring, as put by The New York Post. Why one would ask? Because the Obama White House feared offending Tehran ahead of the 2015 nuclear deal.

“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, an illicit finance expert. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

When appeasement entered dangerous sectors of the government, we witnessed how Obama officials literally parroted the Iranian regime’s talking points. “John Brennan, Mr. Obama’s counterterror chief who later led the CIA, had argued in May 2010 that Hezbollah was evolving into a political party,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Here’s a look at what John Brennan calls a “political party”…

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And Obama continued their appeasement of Iran by making sure nothing slipped through the cracks. “Project Cassandra officials told Politico that they were transferred to other assignments after Mr. Obama’s deal with Iran was announced in January 2016,” according to The Washington Times.

Further astonishing is that U.S. authorities literally had specific targets in their grasps. If apprehended these individuals could have provided far more information into Iran’s malign activities and brought more corrupt figures to justice. “… the Obama Justice Department refused to pursue Abdallah Safieddine, the leader in charge of coordinating Hezbollah’s global drug trafficking operations, who also serves as Hezbollah’s liaison officer in Tehran,” according to The Hill.

It has now become quite obvious that Obama’s appeasement vis-a-vis Iran/Chavez/Maduro had no limits. Daniel Byman wrote in Lawfare:

  1. The Justice Department did not file criminal charges against Hezbollah members because of tacit White House pressure;
  2. The U.S. government refused to press hard for the extradition of a key Hezbollah weapons supplier in Czech custody, allowing his eventual release;
  3. The United States allowed “an entire Quds force network” in the United States to function and otherwise did not aggressively target Quds Force members;
  4. The administration did not target a Lebanese bank linked to drug laundering; and
  5. The administration stymied the DEA’s effort to go after Hezbollah. Over time, the agency’s task force was denied permission to expand its efforts, and its personnel and resources were steadily drained.

And Obama’s obstructionism rendered the following:

  1. “Multi-ton loads of cocaine” entered the United States;
  2. Hezbollah procured hundreds of millions of dollars from illegal drug money;
  3. The United States lost track of various networks and associated conspiracies with adversaries such as Russia, Syria and Venezuela; and
  4. Drug networks were allowed to flourish and also served as overall logistics hubs. These networks also “procured parts for Iran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs” smuggled in night-vision goggles and even Bell helicopters.

As noted previously, Iran and Venezuela also have established a dangerous relationship involving Tehran launching missile bases in America’s backyard. It is worth the while to take a look at how former president Hugo Chavez agreed to permit Iran’s regime build missile bases in the South American country.

Chávez has signed a secret strategic cooperation agreement with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on October 19, 2010, aiming to build an Iran-Venezuelan missile base on Venezuelan soil. The base was to be built on the Peninsula de Paraguaná, about 120 kilometers from the Colombian border. A small group of leading Iranian engineers from the Revolutionary Guard-owned construction company Khatam al-Anbia had paid visits to the designated site on the northern tip of the South American continent.

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The secret visit in early February 2010 was approved by the IRGC Air Force commander, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who voted him with the Venezuelan partners. The Iranian delegation had plans to develop an infrastructure to protect against air attacks. Also planned is the construction of a command and control station, residential areas, watchtowers and bunkers where warheads, rocket fuel and other relevant assets can be stored. 20-meter deep rocket silos were also blueprinted.

Iran had in mind methods to launch a strategic threat to the U.S., much as the Soviet Union planned to do so in Cuba back in the early 1960s.

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“The cost of the Venezuelan military project is being paid for with Iranian oil revenue. The Iranians paid in cash for the preliminary phase of the project, which amounted to “dozens of millions” of dollars, Die Welt wrote,” according to a May 17, 2011, translation by The Jerusalem Post.

The site was to “include missile defenses, special forces units, and control stations. Iran’s oil revenue is reportedly going to the construction of bunkers, watch towers, barracks, and 65-foot deep rocket silos,” according to the Business Insider.

The German daily claims that according to the agreement, Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B (285-330 km) and Scud-C (300, 500 and 700 km) were to be deployed in the proposed base.

(File photos)

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“The leaders of Iran and Venezuela hailed what they called their strong strategic relationship, saying they are united in efforts to establish a ‘New World Order’ that will eliminate Western dominance over global affairs,” according to a Fox News report posted on May 17, 2011.

“Security sources have stated that the plans for the underground missile depots will be prepared by experts from the chemical engineering department of the Sharif Industrial University and Tehran Polytechnic,” the report adds.

There is far more on the disturbing relationship between the regime’s ruling Iran and Venezuela.

“Venezuela is said to have significant reserves, something that Iran is desperately in need of for the continuation of their nuclear bomb project. Other activities include housing of the Quds forces, along with Hezbollah cells in these facilities, so they can expand their activities throughout Latin America and form collaborations with drug cartels in Mexico and then enter America.

“Many of the Iranian so-called commercial facilities in Venezuela are under strict no-fly zone regulations by the Venezuelan government and are only accessible by the Iranians in charge of those facilities!

“With Iran’s refusal to halt its nuclear program and the progress they’re making with their missile delivery system, this new military alliance with Venezuela is most alarming for our national security here in America.”

The breadcrumbs of these warnings were everywhere, only for Obama to deliberately overlook.

“Iran has already built what it calls a ‘tractor factory’ in Venezuela, the most heavily guarded and secret tractor factory in the world. The fenced compound is so secret that even Venezuelans are not allowed to enter it; only Iranians are allowed inside.”,” according to The Daily Caller.

“The factory is in a remote area, not far from a uranium deposit former Venezuelan official estimate holds 50,000 tons of ore. Is it a stretch to connect the secret ‘tractor factory’ and the uranium?”

The malign ties between Tehran’s mullahs’ and the Chavez/Maduro regime expanded to more dangerous spheres: terrorism.

“Iran uses Venezuela and other Latin American countries as havens for its terrorists. For months Hezbollah, Iran’s terror army, has metastasized across our undefended border with Mexico to set up sleeper cells in our cities. And now we learn a senior Hezbollah thug was appointed as Venezuela’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Syria?” The Daily Caller read adds.

And talking about links & ties, we all remember how Obama had good relations with Chavez. In my opinion, as Obama betrayed the people of Iran in 2009, one could say he also betrayed the people of Venezuela.

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I wouldn’t be surprised that Assad in Syria also benefited from Obama’s appeasement of the regime’s in Iran & Venezuela. Of course, we all remember how Obama backed off from his famous Syria “red line”…

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The Trump administration, however, does understand the risk of Iran-backed Hezbollah being active in Venezuela.

Worth noting that while Iran describes transferring gasoline halfway across the globe to Venezuela, the regime doesn’t answer the question why they can’t or are not willing to provide for Iranians back home?

 

The most effective method to support the people of Iran and Venezuela in their struggle for freedom & democracy is to bring a complete end to the appeasement policy once and for all.

What does Iran think about ongoing protests in Iraq?

It goes without saying that the regime in Iran is deeply concerned over the events unfolding in Iraq. This massive popular uprising has not been quelled despite a deadly crackdown that has rendered an overall death toll of nearly 250 in the past month along with several thousands injured.

The Iraqi people, however, are setting fire to offices and headquarters of groups and other entities affiliated to Iran. This includes centers involved in plundering the Iraqi people and corrupt ministries, all leading to calls for the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdil al-Mahdi to resign. Iran’s state TV is running various shows providing the regime’s analysis on Iraq. “The scope of this conspiracy is quite enormous,” one state-linked analyst said.

“The volume of these protests and the expansion of this movement, parallel to the behaviors witnessed in attacks targeting government centers, senior officials, private property, assassinating certain individuals, torching banks, storming and torching governors’ offices, provincial headquarters, ministries, stealing from banks and chants calling for the government to resign, the constitution to be revoked and the government to be annulled… What next? I believe these are far beyond legitimate demands… All these events are taking place between Baghdad and Basra (southern Iraq). All these events, deaths and injuries are between Baghdad and Basra. This means nine Shiite provinces. Do they want to launch a Shiite-Shiite war? It appears the scope of this conspiracy is massive,” the report said.

On Sunday, October 27, in another state TV program focusing on Iraq, concerns were voiced over the protesters’ targeting Iran-backed militia groups. “There are now voices heard among the people calling for the official Iraqi government to resign.

“Iraqi protesters initially called for improvements in public services, employment and a concentrated effort against corruption. As footage was posted online showing direct fire from unknown areas targeting the people, these mercenaries recently assassinated two senior members of the Asaeb movement… In this attack, after unidentified men shot Osam al-Aliyawi, they followed him and his brother, martyring them in a hospital,” the report adds.

It is worth noting that none of the claims raised by the Iranian regime state TV program have been proven and the very tone used is quite obvious. Phrases such as “mercenaries,” “movement” and “martyring” all indicate a certain language aiming to place the blame on demonstrators, while relieving the Iran-backed government and militia units involved in the crackdown of any responsibility.

Sa’dollah Zarei, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and a figure close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, shed further light on Tehran’s concerns over its affiliated sites and groups being targeted central and southern Iraq. This clearly indicates the Iraqi people’s utter hatred of the IRGC Quds Force and its malign role in Iraq.

“Any event taking place anywhere can be inspirational for another area. It would be quite natural for us to say that Lebanon was inspired by Iraq, and Iraq can be inspired from another location. In Lebanon, we are witnessing a number of irregular signs. All in all, we may be witnessing this story for weeks and months to come,” he added.

“The situation in Iraq is very similar to the society in Lebanon. In these demonstrations we are witnessing attacks on various Shiite groups, meaning attacks on Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, their members being killed. Around 10 to 15 of them have been martyred. In recent development there was an attack targeting the al-Hekma party, their offices and various centers. They attacked Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) offices and all of a sudden we witness attacks targeting Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, and ten individuals being viciously murdered,” Zarei continued.

Interesting that Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, the al-Hekma and Hashd al-Shaabi groups are all funded, armed, trained and fully supported by Iran’s regime.

It is worth noting that the number provided by Zarei and the descriptions of these deaths cannot be confirmed. All in all, these remarks made by an IRGC member and heard from reports aired on state TV resemble the general state of escalating concern for Iran’s mullahs.

After years of investing billions in Iraq, the mullahs in Tehran are witnessing a loss of vital influence in this country. Iraq has for years been a significant route to bypass U.S. sanctions and losing influence in this country has the potential of having deep impact inside Iran, and especially Tehran.

Armed clashes between Iran’s IRGC proxies & Assad’s “National Guard”

Tensions and clashes are escalating between proxy forces associated to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and “National Guard” units affiliated to the Assad regime. These incidents are being reported in the town of Al Bukamal in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border.

Proxy forces linked to the IRGC transiting with six vehicles were dispatched to the central square of Al Bukamal recently, pulling down the Syrian flag of the Assad regime, according to the Lebanese al-Madan outlet.

These provocative measures by the IRGC proxy units resulted in strong reactions from Assad “National Guard” units in the area, scene attempting to re-raise the Assad regime’s flag in the square. However, tensions began rising and locals are reporting a crossfire between the two previously considered allies. Reports indicate three individuals were killed and a number of others were wounded.

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Map of Al Bukamal, eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border

The Deir Ezzur 24 network confirmed these clashes in the Feehe district of Al Bukamal and even heavy weaponry was used by the two sides.

It is worth noting that Russian military police units stationed in a nearby mosque having full control over the entire area took no action to stop the clashes. Their position was merely 800 meters away from the clash site. Nearly 80 Russian military police members are stationed in that specific base.

Such tension in Al Bukamal has been escalating for weeks now, continuing to this day and escalating as we speak. It is worth noting that Assad-linked proxy forces recently killed a commander of an IRGC-linked proxy group in Al Bukamal, leaving his body in the streets.

Assad’s intelligence apparatus is also reportedly involved, concerned over the IRGC’s intentions of taking over the entire city of Al Bukamal. Iran is seeking to find ground routes from Iraq into Syria for their transfer of weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

There have also been reports of escalating tensions between Iran-backed proxy forces and similar units associated to Russia. The Aleppo International Airport witnessed clashes between the two sides recently.

Such development indicates an increasing pushback on Iran’s influence in Syria as crises engulf this regime across the board, both inside the country and abroad.