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| 8/14/2009 12:00:00 AM

Iran Is Not a Good Partner for Latin America

Aug 14--The future well-being of Latin America cannot be secured by the connection to the vicious extremists in charge in Tehran.

The fraudulent Iranian presidential election and its repressive aftermath put the focus on the Islamic regime's behavior in an unprecedented manner. Even during the more than one year hostage crisis of 1979-1980, Iran had its defenders, based on criticism of U.S. treatment of Iran going back to the U.S.-supported coup against Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953.

Today, Iran has been exposed. Efforts to blame the U.S., Israel, and Britain expectedly continue but have no impact. The government has attacked its own people, has abandoned any pretense of respecting the voice of its citizens, and has come under attack from some fairly conservative clerics. It has lost legitimacy and can't successfully conjure up the usual enemies to divert attention from its abuses.

As a result, internal and external actors are more willing to pay attention to Iran as a destructive force in the world. Most importantly, this applies to the potential of a nuclear Iran and its clear intention to develop nuclear arms. There is new opportunity to put the squeeze on Teheran.

It also applies, however, to another troubling area which has been the subject of far less attention: Iran's threatening expansion in Latin America. Iran has seen Latin America as a region of opportunity at least for 20 years. Its planning and implementation in the early 1990s of the terrorist attacks against the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires (AMIA), and its use of its surrogate Hezbollah in those destructive operations signaled that Iran believed it had a certain freedom to carry out terrorist attacks on Latin American territory. Since then, a series of factors have come together to allow Iran to spread its influence on the continent.

Read more here.
 
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