Iran Attempting to Turn Venezuela as Front Base, Increase in Armed UAVs Shipment Alarms Israel and US

By ARIE EGOZI

Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv: The Iranians are turning Venezuela to their front base in South America that will facilitate their intention to hit American interests if the Vienna talks about a new nuclear deal are not successful and the sanctions continue.

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The shipments of weapon systems, mainly armed UAV’s from Iran to Venezuela have grown in number and this brought Israeli and American intelligence organizations to follow this activity very closely.

Prof Uzi Rabi , a senior Israeli expert on Iran said that at this stage the export of armed UAV’s and drones from Iran to Venezuela is a way of getting the needed financing for the actions of the Lebanese Hezbollah terror organization, the main proxy of Iran.

“Iran takes advantage of the very poor situation of Venezuela to get a foothold in Latin America and by that to facilitate the transfer of funds to the Hezbollah. This has become the lifeline of the organization” the expert said.

Israeli sources say that Hezbollah is Iran’s “contractor” for terror actions outside the middle-east.

According to a research paper written by Tal Beeri, from the Israeli Alma Research and Education Centre, Venezuela, which is located in the United States “backyard”, is considered a close ally of Iran, and symbolically, the Iranian leadership considers Venezuela to be part of the radical Shiite axis. Just as the area of southern Syria is a geographical platform used by Iran to create a nearby physical front against Israel (“The Little Devil”), so can the territory of Venezuela be a geographical platform for Iran to operate against the United States (“The Great Satan”) from the air. The aerial distance between Venezuela and Florida is about 2,000 kilometres.

“We know that Iran transfers weapons to Venezuela regularly and that these deliveries may also include missiles. We also understand that Venezuela, in particular and South America, in general, has become a base for the IRGC Quds Force activities. While mentioning Iran’s air capabilities regarding Venezuela, it is worth noting that Puerto Rico, whose inhabitants are American citizens, is only about 500 miles away from Venezuela.”

The researcher writes that the “UAV Army” is operated with outstanding professionalism. It is activated against airports and oil fields in Saudi Arabia (by the Houthi insurgents in Yemen and by the Iranians themselves), against American forces in Iraq and Syria (by the Shiite axis militias), and Israeli owned merchant ships in the Persian Gulf (by the Iranians themselves), and opposition forces and ISIS in Syria (by Hezbollah and by the Shiite axis militias), and against Israeli targets in Israeli territory (by the Iranians themselves from Syria or Iraq, by Hezbollah from Lebanon and by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip).

“Some of the UAVs manufacturing plants are directly owned by the Revolutionary Guards and do not just have business relationships with them. Among the manufacturers are: Ghazanfar Roknabadi Industries, Quds Air Industries, Fajr Industries Group, Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Co., Shahid Basir Industry, Bespar Sazeh Composite Co., Paravar Pars Co., and an unidentified special drone production operation in the Iranian city of Semnan”.

According to the Alma Centre publication, the Iranian UAV manufacturing industry is unaffected by international sanctions, and the proof of this is the actual growth of the “UAV Army.” The main reason for the sanctions’ inefficiencies is that many components used in this industry are standard shelf components that are easily purchased on the internet. For example, on the “Alibaba” site, the price of a Chinese DLE-111 engine installed in several UAVs is $500. The acquisition is carried out, among other ways, through procurement agents living in western countries. The agents purchase the various components where they live and send them to the representatives of the radical Shiite axis. The transportation of the parts worldwide is carried out via the Iranian diplomatic postal platform.

Israeli and American intelligence are closely following the export efforts of Iran to try and get an early warning of a developing threat based on the use of armed drones.