Chávez’s Dangerous Liaisons With Tehran
U.S. diplomats have been silent on these growing alliances. However, fresh revelations about Chávez’s alliance with Iran demonstrate what he is capable of doing when he is not provoked.
Hugo Chávez admitted on June 13 that Venezuela is manufacturing Iranian drones and that Iran has built several explosives and chemical facilities in his country. However, Chávez is trying to throw international observers off his scent by acknowledging an unmanned aerial vehicle program for “peaceful purposes.” What he did not disclose are the many other troubling aspects of the extensive military cooperation between the two rabidly anti-U.S. regimes—not the least of which is that Venezuela secretly shipped an F-16 to Iran in 2006 that could be used today to test the air defenses around Teheran’s illicit nuclear facilities.
U.S. diplomats have convinced themselves—and have tried to convince members of Congress and the media—that Iran’s push into the Americas poses no threat to U.S. security. Indeed, a State Department spokesperson quickly downplayed the significance of Chávez’s admission.
Here’s some of what U.S. diplomats continue to ignore:
The fact that Venezuela shipped one of its U.S.-manufactured F-16 fighter aircraft to Iran was revealed to me last month by a Venezuelan military officer who was present during an Iranian military delegation’s visit to El Libertador Air Base in Palo Negro. Because the Israeli air force operates modified F-16s, the Iranian military could use the purloined Venezuelan aircraft to calibrate its air defense systems.