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Iran's Latin threat: It's real and increasing

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A newly reported secret meeting of a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officer with Venezuelan military and security chiefs shows how wrong the State Department is when it downplays Iran's nefarious Latin American activities.

ProPublica reports the secret meeting occurred during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's January 2012 visit with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Western intelligence officials say the Venezuelans agreed to help Iran with arms, ID documents, bank accounts and movement of operatives and equipment.

The late Mr. Chavez's successor, President Nicolas Maduro, was “a point man for the alliance with Iran” as foreign minister from 2006-12. Mr. Ahmadinejad's successor, Iranian President-elect Hassan Rowhani, long has been among Tehran's ruling radicals.

So, changing faces won't change the growing Iranian threat in America's southern backyard.

Yet State's latest assessment says Iran's Latin American influence “is waning” — despite Iran's intensifying regional activity and evidence of its involvement in a foiled 2007 plot against New York's JFK Airport and deadly 1990s bombings of Jewish and Israeli targets in Argentina, and of Venezuelan aid to Iranian terrorist proxy Hezbollah, which U.S. investigators say is funding itself through cocaine trafficking.

The Iranian threat in Latin America is real and increasing. Denying that grim reality only compounds the danger it poses to the U.S.

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