Examining the Castro regime’s longstanding friendship with Iran, and its somewhat more recent friendship with North Korea, A.J. Caschetta concludes that the combination of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the thawing of U.S. relations with Cuba bodes ill for American security:
[In the past], Cuba has cooperated with both Iran and North Korea. Under the shah, Iran had no diplomatic ties with Cuba, but after 1979 [it] was one of the first nations to recognize [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini’s regime as the legitimate government of Iran. Since then, ties between the two have been increasing steadily. In May of 2001, Fidel Castro visited Iran, where he said that “Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each other, can bring America to its knees.” . . .
Aside from Castro’s visit to Pyongyang in 1986 and some weapons transfers in the 1980s, there had been little to report [on Cuba’s relations with North Korea], until recently. The Economist offers 2008 as the year that cooperation between the two countries began increasing. In 2013, the North Korean ship Chong Chon Gang was interdicted in Panama after leaving Cuba laden with Soviet weaponry hidden under mountains of sugar. . . .
A Cuban role in the axis would be more than ideological. . . . Iran and North Korea are less interested in old weapons and [cigars] than in the one thing Cuba has always offered America’s enemies—physical proximity. The USSR used Cuba as a forward operating base in the cold war. Why would Iran and North Korea not do the same?
Most analysts are focused on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), but a medium-range missile fired from Cuba could reach most of the United States. Cuba would also be a good launch point for an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the U.S.
Notably, Iran’s medium-range missile program has continued apace since the completion of the nuclear deal, and there is reason to believe the Islamic Republic is developing the capabilities for an EMP attack as well.