Experts Warn of Iran’s Expansion in Latin America

Iranian Flag
by Gelet Martínez Fragela


Iran’s strategic expansion in Latin America, by aligning itself with regimes that could represent a threat to democracy and regional stability, has become a concern for the region, according to a Tuesday report published by the Southern Command’s Diálogo Americas magazine.

While Iran’s influence already extends to Brazil, where on November 8, 2023, Brazilian authorities thwarted a Hezbollah terrorist plot against Jewish targets, the seriousness of Iran’s presence in the region became apparent again on April 14. , when, after an Iranian attack on Israel with more than 300 drones and missiles, the Argentine government raised its terrorist alert level to “high.” As a consequence, Argentina intensified its security measures, especially around Jewish institutions, airports and border areas.

For its part, the Argentine Federal Police announced an “orange alert” and in Buenos Aires police patrols  increased around synagogues and Jewish community centers. The heightened state of alert led to heightened surveillance at key locations, including the Israeli Embassy and the presidential house.

At an OAS-led symposium in Washington DC on April 12, experts and diplomats highlighted the Iranian threat in Latin America, emphasizing the need to confront anti-Semitism and counter Iran’s negative influence amid heightened tensions in the Middle East. .

The Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, highlighted the importance of the fight against anti-Semitism to defend democracy and human rights and insisted on pointing out the links between autocratic regimes in the Americas and Iranian representatives.

Meanwhile, concerns continue about possible attacks on Jewish institutions in Latin America, with experts such as Luis Fleischman of Palm Beach State University warning against underestimating Iran’s capabilities and intentions.

“Iran penetrated Latin America a long time ago. It not only carries out activities using its embassies as espionage centers, but also in combination with local and international criminal organizations, mosques and with a highly developed propaganda apparatus,” Fleischman warned in Diálogo Americas.

This escalation in security measures occurs for the second time in just three days; the first, in response to US intelligence reports about a possible Iranian attack on Israel.

On April 11, Argentina’s highest criminal court affirmed Iran’s involvement in the 1994 attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, which resulted in 85 deaths and 300 injuries.

In March, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released its annual intelligence community threat assessment, revealing that China, Russia and Iran have the ability to disrupt the election cycle. of 2024.

Although China’s activities in America have received much attention, Iran, the only foreign power responsible for recent attacks against American citizens, is also working hard to undermine US interests in Central and South America, developing actions ranging from establish diplomatic ties to trade, bribery and economic aid.

The people behind the attacks in Brazil, both wanted by Interpol and linked to a Shiite cultural center in Brasilia, were instrumental in recruiting Brazilians for Hezbollah.

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Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who founded ADN Cuba.
Photo “Iranian Flag” by Adam Jones. CC BY 2.0.



Reprinted with permission from ADN America.

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