|Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (left) with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad |
during an agreement-signing ceremony, Tehran September 6, 2009
Iran is building intermediate- range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from a construction firm – Khatam al-Anbia – owned by the Revolutionary Guards visited Paraguaná in February. Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guard’s Air Force, participated in the visit, according to the report. Die Welt cited information from “Western security insiders.” The rocket bases are to include measures to prevent air attacks on Venezuela as well as commando and control stations. The Iranian military involvement in the project extends to bunker, barracks and watch tower construction. Twenty-meter deep rocket silos are planned. 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 and, the total cost is expected to amount to “dozens of millions” of dollars, Die Welt wrote. The Paraguaná Peninsula is on the coast of Venezuela and is roughly 120 kilometers from America’s main South American partner, Columbia. According to Die Welt, the clandestine agreement between Venezuela and Iran would mean the Chavez government would fire rockets at Iran’s enemies should the Islamic Republic face military strikes.As it happens, the Iranian news website Tehran Times ran an article under the headline "Venezuela calls for closer cooperation with Iran" just two months ago:
"Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has said that Caracas is keen to have closer cooperation with Iran in the international arena. Maduro made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Behrouz Kamalvandi who is currently on a tour of Latin America. The Venezuelan foreign minister also said that his country is ready to cooperate with Iran to push ahead the two countries’ common goals. Kamalvandi highlighted the role of Venezuela in the campaign against the major powers’ imperialistic policies."Putting those outlandish assertions into context, here's what the same newspaper wrote today about where Iran stands in the community of nations:
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is ruled by a supreme jurisprudent, is the most progressive and democratic country in the world. The Islamic Republic of Iran faces no insurmountable problem thanks to the presence of the Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad stated during a televised interview broadcast live on Iranian television on Sunday night."It's wrong to laugh. These are serious people, with very serious resources at their disposal, including vast stocks of weapons. They're not smiling; neither should we.
Last year, a Washington Post article entitled "Is there a Chavez terror network on America’s doorstep?" reported on an August 2010 summit meeting of jihadists hosted by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez at the Fuerte Tiuna compound in southern Caracas. Participants included Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah (on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists); Hamas’s supreme leader Khaled Mashal; and Hezbollah’s chief of operations whose identity is a closely guarded secret.
Is the picture getting clearer?