The German daily Die Welt published an eye-opening report last Thursday that the Iranian regime has begun building missile bases at a military complex in Venezuela.
Citing “Western security insiders,” Die Welt noted that Iran is building intermediate-range-missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from Khatam al-Anbiya — a construction firm owned by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — visited Paraguaná in February. Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guards’ Air Force, approved the Iranian delegation.
Many millions of dollars of Iranian oil revenues are supporting the country’s new military outpost in America’s backyard. The array of military bunkers, watchtowers, and 20-meter deep rocket silos is situated on the coast of Venezuela roughly 120 kilometers from Washington’s primary South American ally, Colombia.
Given recent exposures of illicit exchanges of missile technology between Iran and its terror sibling North Korea, as well as the U.N. Security Council report documenting Tehran’s ongoing sanctions violations, the military presence in Venezuela is merely one more affront to the United States and the international community.
Sadly, none of these developments should come as any great surprise. As early as 2009, Bret Stephens was warning readers of the “The Tehran-Caracas nuclear axis” in the pages of Wall Street Journal.
It is encouraging that the U.S. House and Senate are moving forward on a new round of human-rights and economic sanctions against Iran. Washington must also consider complementing these with harsher measures to keep Iranian influence in check.
— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
EDITORS NOTE: This item has been amended since its initial posting.