Posts Tagged ‘Uranium’

Another Rogue-State Smuggling Route Is Revealed

| July 22nd, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

BY JOHN BOLTON

Panama’s interdiction last week of a North Korean freighter bearing cargo from Cuba should open President Obama’s eyes. The seizure’s chilling implication is that significant trading exists among proliferators (and their powerful friends), despite mountains of sanctions resolutions, vaunted intelligence capabilities, and Western leaders who think dictators can be talked out of long-sought military capabilities. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama is botching a real opportunity by mistakenly deferring to the United Nations.

Much remains unknown about the shipment aboard the Chong Chon Gang, or what it carried inbound to Cuba. The Havana-Pyongyang story that the vessel was transporting obsolete weapons and equipment certainly warrants considerable skepticism. But even if its cargo was just that and nothing more, the mere fact of this newly revealed rogue-state trade route is bad news. “Axis of evil” was never just a metaphor, and membership is always open.

The freighter could well represent a pattern of trafficking ... Read More

House Lawmakers Ask John Kerry to Reconsider Argentinian Aid

| July 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY ADAM KREDO

A bipartisan delegation of House lawmakers have petitioned Secretary of State John Kerry to reconsider the level of aid given to Argentina following revelations that the Latin American country has opened it doors to Iran.

“We are particularly troubled by Argentina’s growing ties with Iran, utter contempt for U.S. law, growing corruption within its government, and repeated failure to met its financial obligations,” the lawmakers wrote on Thursday to Kerry, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

U.S. officials and regional experts warned earlier this week that under the leadership of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina has helped Iran bring its terrorist activities to the Western hemisphere.

The lawmakers—including House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas), Reps. Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.), Grace Meng (D., N.Y.), Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.), and Bill Posey (R., Fla.)—urged Kerry to immediately cut back U.S. support for Argentina.

“We are aware that ... Read More

Kirchner Opens Door to Latin America for Iran

| July 10th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY ADAM KREDO

Argentina’s populist-socialist president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has allowed Iran to infiltrate its economic sector and potentially use the country as a terrorist launching pad, U.S. officials and multiple experts said on Tuesday.

Iranian agents have been permitted access to Latin America’s Free Trade Zones, which operate throughout the porous borders that separate Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, the terrorism experts testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency.

Iran has significantly boosted its diplomatic ties with Argentina and other socialist countries, a move that allows Iranian officials to circulate through the region, according to the experts and independent U.S. officials not present at the hearing.

Under Kirchner, Argentina has begun to export large amounts of food and agricultural products to feed its hungry population, which has suffered under Western sanctions, according to U.S. officials.

Iran also recently opened a joint chamber of commerce last year in Buenos Aires, according to ... Read More

Bolivians Express Doubt in Uranium Seizure

| August 30th, 2012 | No Comments »
From Fox News Latino

After declaring that authorities had arrested four men in connection with trafficking uranium in La Paz, Bolivian authorities are backing off the claim that the material found inside nylon bags may be the alleged radioactive material.

Bolivian Government Minister Carlos Romero said late Tuesday that the Bolivian Institute of Nuclear Technology is conducting a study on the material to determine its composition.

“There is the possible existence of uranium in the screening solids, but it deserves research and scientific expertise,” Romero said, according to the Bolivian daily Los Tiempos.

Romero also tried to assuage fears of people in the neighborhood where the material was found – which includes a number of embassies – that there was no risk of a radioactive blast.

Police on Tuesday confiscated two tons of the alleged uranium that was being stored at a building in central La Paz located near the U.S. and Spanish embassies, said Bolivian Deputy Interior Minister ... Read More

Bolivian Police Seize 2 Tons of Uranium

| August 29th, 2012 | No Comments »
EFE

Bolivian police on Tuesday confiscated two tons of uranium that was being stored at a building in central La Paz located near the U.S. and Spanish embassies.

Four people, all of them Bolivian nationals, were arrested while they were transferring the uranium from one vehicle to another, Deputy Interior Minister Jorge Perez said.

The radioactive material was in sacks of jute and nylon, he said.

Since Bolivia does not produce uranium, Perez said, authorities assume the consignment originated in either of two neighboring countries that do: Brazil or Chile.

The commander of the elite police unit that carried out the operation, Col. Eddy Torrez, said the seizure was the fruit of a six-week investigation.

Police pounced when they learned the people in possession of the uranium planned to meet Tuesday with a potential buyer, the colonel said.

Perez said one of the people arrested is an engineer who told police he was holding the uranium for ... Read More

Iran Courts Latin America

| August 8th, 2012 | No Comments »
Middle East Forum

BY ILAN BERMAN

In October 2011, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller revealed the thwarting of an elaborate plot by elements in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington at a posh D.C. eatery, utilizing members of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel.[1]

The foiled terrorist plot, with its Latin American connections, focused new attention on what had until then been a largely overlooked political phenomenon: the intrusion of the Islamic Republic of Iran into the Western Hemisphere. An examination of Tehran’s behavioral pattern in the region over the past several years reveals four distinct strategic objectives: loosening the U.S.-led international noose to prevent it from building nuclear weapons; obtaining vital resources for its nuclear project; creating informal networks for influence projection and sanctions evasion; and establishing a terror infrastructure that could target the U.S. homeland.

Building Western Hemisphere Alliances

Outreach to Latin America is ... Read More

Iran’s influence in Venezuela: Washington should worry

| August 6th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY JAIME SUCHLICKI

The same week that President Obama downplayed the threat to U.S. security from Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, a high-level delegation from Hezbollah was visiting Caracas and Havana. Ammar Musawi, head of Hezbollah International Department, praised Cuba as a model on how to oppose “imperialist hegemony, arrogance, and plunder.” In Venezuela, he met with the Vice-Foreign Minister and condemned the “ferocious attack” against their Syrian ally. Venezuela’s growing relations with Iran and Chávez’ support for terrorist groups both in the Americas and the Middle East should worry the U.S.

The most remarkable and dangerous foreign policy initiative of the Chávez regime has been allying Venezuela with Iran. Chávez has allowed the Iranians to use Venezuelan territory to penetrate the Western Hemisphere and to mine for uranium in Venezuela. Chávez policy is aiding Iran in developing nuclear technology and in evading U.N. sanctions and U.S. vigilance of the Iranian drug trade and ... Read More

Birth of a rogue nation

| July 30th, 2012 | 1 Comment »
The Miami Herald

Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa is preening to replace his cancer-stricken Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, as the leader of Latin America’s lawless left. Correa’s flirtation with granting asylum to Wikileaker Julian Assange underscores his contempt for the rule of law and his deep animosity toward the United States. His mischief has taken a malicious turn as Ecuador plans to purchase $400 million in oil from the nuclear rogue and terrorist state, Iran.

The budding ties to Iran are perhaps Correa’s most dangerous gambit. For example, his government plans to cooperate with Iran’s Central Bank in a dangerous scheme to help the Ahmadinejad regime evade international sanctions. Last year, when an agreement with Iran to mine strategic minerals in Ecuador was revealed, Correa made the ridiculous claim that he did not even know that his country had uranium deposits.

Since becoming president in 2007, Correa has resorted to Chávez’s anti-democratic, anti-U.S. playbook: winning a democratic election ... Read More

Chávez a threat to the hemisphere

| July 26th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY SHIMON SAMUEL & SERGIO WIDDER

During a recent interview on A Mano Limpia, hosted by Oscar Haza on WJAN-Channel 41 (Florida), President Obama declared that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez has not posed “a serious” national security threat to the United States.

Perhaps, he considered Chávez’s rhetoric simply as “business as usual” in Latin American politics: blaming U.S. foreign policy as the source of all regional evils. In that context, Chávez’s “anti-Imperialist” speech might, at a stretch, be perceived as ordinary propaganda bluster and not a major threat.

But when it comes to Venezuela’s regional stance, it is crucial to consider the overall context.

Chávez created his own regional bloc, the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), led by Venezuela, and joined by Evo Morales’ Bolivia, Rafael Correa’s Ecuador, Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua, and Fidel and Raúl Castro´s Cuba. This bloc is the main partner for a growing Iranian penetration into Latin America.

Together with commercial ties, ... Read More

Chavez: Venezuela is no threat, Obama is a “good guy”

| July 16th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY DANIEL WALLIS

CARACAS (Reuters) – President Hugo Chavez denied on Friday that Venezuela was a threat to anyone, after U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney criticized Barack Obama for playing down the risk posed by the socialist leader.

Obama told a Spanish-language television station in an interview screened this week that Chavez’s actions over recent years had not had a serious impact on the national security of the United States.

Romney said Obama’s comments were “stunning and shocking” and showed a pattern of weakness in the Democratic president’s foreign policy.

In an interview with a local Venezuelan television station on Friday, Chavez dismissed the allegations he posed any danger.

“The Venezuela of today is no threat to anyone,” he said.

“It has all been a hoax by the imperialists and global far right: that uranium is being enriched in Venezuela, that we’re setting up missiles here, that we’re supporting ... Read More

Iran’s Inroads Into Latin America

| May 22nd, 2012 | No Comments »
Pundicity

BY ILAN BERMAN

A GROWING IRANIAN REGIONAL FOOTPRINT

Recent years have seen a steady expansion of Iran’s interest and involvement in the Western Hemisphere. While this phenomenon has begun to capture the attention of policymakers in the United States, it remains poorly understood. In assessing Iran’s regional outreach, however, it is possible to discern at least four distinct, and complimentary, strategic objectives.

Diplomacy and coalition building Since 2003, when its previously-clandestine nuclear program became public knowledge, the Islamic Republic has faced mounting global pressure over its nuclear ambitions. The Iranian regime has sought to mitigate the resulting political and economic restrictions levied against it by the United States and its allies through intensified diplomatic outreach abroad. Due to its favorable geopolitical climate—typified by vast ungoverned areas and widespread anti-Americanism—Latin America has become an important focal point of this effort.

Iran’s most prominent Latin American partner was and remains Venezuela. Since 2005, owing in large part ... Read More

Iran Woos Bolivia For Influence In Latin America

| May 21st, 2012 | No Comments »
The Daily Beast

ILAN BERMAN

One of the most dangerous places in the Western Hemisphere is the city of Warnes, Bolivia, which lies a few kilometers outside the country’s industrial capital of Santa Cruz. There, set back in an open field off a bustling highway, is the new regional defense school of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas, or ALBA—the eight-member economic and geopolitical bloc founded by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro nearly a decade ago.

Since its launch last spring, the school has become the object of fevered speculation throughout the region concerning its potential role in the indoctrination and training to some of the most radical elements in the Americas. But perhaps the most tangible, and troubling, aspect of the facility is the role now being played there by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran, itself an observer nation in ALBA, is believed to have provided at least some of the seed money ... Read More

Iran unwelcome in this hemisphere

| April 11th, 2012 | No Comments »
Boston Herald

BY YAEL MARCIANO & MATIAS A. SUELDO

President Barack Obama went to Seoul recently to mobilize the international community to counter nuclear weapons proliferation. He met with the Russians and Chinese on the sidelines and asked them to support the international community’s diplomatic and economic sanctions against Iran. And yet, even as an Iranian nuclear weapon looms, the U.S. is itself moving too slowly to cut the regime’s lifeline from Latin America.

Since 2005, that lifeline has grown into six new embassies and 17 cultural centers even as Iran has dramatically increased the size of its staff at all diplomatic facilities in the region.

The ayatollahs’ diplomatic offensive has borne results. At a 2010 joint press conference in Tehran, representatives from Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela announced their determination to “continue and expand their economic ties to Iran,” in effect, to assist Iran in evading international sanctions.

In January, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shored ... Read More

Squeezing Iran Out of Latin America

| April 10th, 2012 | No Comments »
The Huffington Post

BY YAEL MARCIANO & MATIAS A. SUELDO

President Obama was in Seoul last week mobilizing the international community to counter nuclear weapons proliferation. He met with the Russians and Chinese on the sidelines and asked them to support the international community’s diplomatic and economic stranglehold of Iran. And yet, even as an Iranian nuclear weapon looms, the U.S. is moving too slowly to cut the Iranian regime’s growing lifeline in Latin America.

Since 2005, the regime’s Latin American lifeline has grown through six new embassies and 17 cultural centers. In tandem, Iran has dramatically increased the size of its diplomatic missions across the region.

The ayatollahs’ diplomatic offensive has borne results. At a 2010 joint press conference in Tehran, representatives from Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela announced their determination to “continue and expand their economic ties to Iran,” in effect, to assist Iran in evading international sanctions.

In January of this year, Iranian ... Read More

Nice Oil Imports You’ve Got There. Shame If You Lost Them

| March 1st, 2012 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy

BY VACLAV SMIL

In laying claim to the majority of Michigan’s delegates in the Feb. 28 primary, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney also laid claim to the precious natural resources of America’s northern neighbor. “I’ll get us that oil from Canada that we deserve,” he said.

That may not have been the most artful way to put it, but critics on both sides of the border should ignore that infelicitous phrasing, recognize the ties that bind the United States and Canada together, and work assiduously to maintain those vital energy links.

Many Americans may think that Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of U.S. oil imports — after all, isn’t that why the United States keeps aircraft carriers in the Gulf and why the Saudi kings are either held by hand in Texas or offered deep bows? Some may even believe that Iraq has taken that place — wasn’t the war all about getting ... Read More

‘Iran cultivating L. American ties beyond Venezuela’

| February 16th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY HILARY LEILA KRIEGER

WASHINGTON – Iran is cultivating relationships beyond Venezuela to make sure its toehold in Latin America stays secure, should Hugo Chavez lose his battle with cancer, a former US State Department official warned Wednesday.

“Certainly the Iranians are happy with the platform they have so close to US borders. They’d love to hang on to Venezuela, but if that isn’t convenient for whatever government that succeeds Chavez, they’ll have look elsewhere,” said Roger Noriega on a conference call sponsored by The Israel Project.

Noriega pointed to the countries Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited in addition to Venezuela on his recent Latin American tour – Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba – as places Iran is looking to develop ties.

Noriega, who served in the George W. Bush administration, will testify before the Senate on Iran and Latin America Thursday. He is expected to highlight Ecuador as a country of particular interest for ... Read More

Armas, Minería y Redes de Irán en América Latina

| February 16th, 2012 | 2 Comments »
US Senate

Aspectos destacados del testimonio del Embajador Roger Noriega ante el Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado, Subcomité para el Hemisferio Occidental, Cuerpos de Paz, y Narcóticos

Febrero 16 del año 2012

El director de Inteligencia Nacional, James R. Clapper, declaró a principios de este mes que “las autoridades iraníes” de más alto nivel “están ahora más dispuestas a realizar un ataque en Estados Unidos ….” El general Clapper también informó que el líder supremo de Irán, Ali Jamenei, probablemente estaba enterado de las acciones descubiertas en octubre donde supuestos líderes de cárteles de la droga mexicanos conspiraron con Irán para perpetrar un supuesto atentado terrorista en el corazón de la capital de nuestra nación.

Basándonos en decenas de entrevistas con expertos de todo el mundo, con testigos en la región y en una gran cantidad de documentos oficiales venezolanos e iraníes se hacen las siguientes conclusiones:

Hugo Chávez y el ... Read More

Noriega Testimony: “IRAN’S INFLUENCE AND ACTIVITY IN LATIN AMERICA”

| February 16th, 2012 | 3 Comments »
US Senate

TESTIMONY OF AMBASSADOR ROGER F. NORIEGA

BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE,PEACE CORPS, AND GLOBAL NARCOTICS AFFAIRS

HEARING ON

“IRAN’S INFLUENCE AND ACTIVITY IN LATIN AMERICA”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Room 419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC

Mr. Chairman, I applaud you and other members of the Subcommittee forinitiating a review of Iran’s activities in Latin America.

Since you announced your inquiry, the Director of National Intelligence, James R.Clapper, testified earlier this month that “Iranian officials” at the highest levels “are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States….” General Clapper also reported that Iran’s so-called “supreme leader” Ali Khamenei was probably aware of the bizarre plot discovered last October to conspire with supposed Mexican drug cartel leaders to commit a terrorist bombing in the heart of our Nation’s capital.i Only because ... Read More

How Brazil Deals with Dictators

| February 15th, 2012 | No Comments »
Article appeared in The Weekly Standard

BY JAIME DAREMBLUM

President Rousseff has gotten tougher on Iran. But will she actively promote human rights in Cuba?

As Lula da Silva’s handpicked successor, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was widely expected to embrace his policies both at home and abroad. Domestically, she has mostly fulfilled those expectations. In foreign affairs, the story is a bit more complicated.

Lula made no secret of his desire to enhance “South-South” dialogue, promote greater cooperation among developing countries, and transform Brazil into a diplomatic powerhouse. In principle, those are worthy objectives. In practice, however, Lula often sided with dictators, against democracy activists and Western governments.

In 2010, for example, he inserted himself into the Iranian nuclear controversy: Along with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Lula negotiated a meaningless uranium-swap deal that undercut U.S. sanctions efforts at the United Nations. “In our view,” Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim said at the time, “the agreement eliminates any ground for ... Read More

Irán, dispuesto a realizar ataques dentro de los Estados Unidos, según informe de inteligencia de EE.UU.

| January 31st, 2012 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

POR GREG MILLER

Las agencias de inteligencia de EE.UU. creen que Irán está preparado para lanzar ataques terroristas dentro de los Estados Unidos en respuesta a lo que ellos perciben como amenazas de parte de este país y sus aliados, de acuerdo a declaraciones recientes del Jefe de Espionaje de los EE.UU.

El Director Nacional de Inteligencia, James R. Clapper Jr., dijo que un supuesto complot para asesinar al embajador Saudí en Washington el año pasado refleja una nueva tendencia  dentro de los rangos superiores de la Republica Islámica de autorizar ataques contra los Estados Unidos y sus aliados.

La trama mencionada anteriormente “muestra que algunos funcionarios iraníes – probablemente incluyendo al Líder Supremo Ali Khamenei – han cambiado sus cálculos y ahora están dispuestos a realizar un ataque en los Estados Unidos debido a las acciones reales o supuestas de este país, las que son interpretadas como una amenaza al régimen”, dijo ... Read More

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