Iran’s Latin American Resurgence

From Chile to Mexico, left-wing, anti-Israel, and pro-Iranian politicians have won a series of victories in the past few years, allowing Tehran to expand its influence beyond Cuba and Venezuela, the nations it counts already as steadfast allies. Next week, Gustavo Petro—who in 2020 praised the Iranian generalissimo Qassem Suleimani—will become president of Colombia, while the former Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who presided over the cover-up of Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center, returned to power as that country’s vice-president. Oved Lobel writes:

Colombia was one of very few countries in South America to designate Hizballah a terrorist organization and was previously among the staunchest security allies of the U.S. and Israel, all of which is now in question. . . . Brazil, despite its right-wing government and seemingly close relations with Israel and the U.S., refused to designate Hizballah despite years of pledging to do so.

Then there is Chile’s new president, Gabriel Boric, a long-standing and virulently anti-Israel leftist who has openly blamed the local Jewish community for Israeli policies. . . . Peru, too, has fallen to the Marxists with the election of President Pedro Castillo, who some have accused of being a mere front man for the notorious pro-Cuban Vladimir Cerrón, himself seemingly an anti-Semite.

The ultimate nightmare, of course, would be a future transfer of Iranian ballistic missiles topped with nuclear warheads to Venezuela, giving them the reach to threaten the U.S. mainland even without intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The current wave of left-wing governments sweeping Latin America bodes extremely ill for the Jewish citizens of these countries as well as for both the U.S. and Israel politically and security-wise. . . . Even if the terrorism threat can be kept in check, the regional criminal activities of [Iran’s terror] network will likely increase, bringing in more funds to be poured back into military capabilities that will increasingly inch their way closer to the U.S. mainland.

Read more at Fresh Air

More about: Anti-Semitism, Cristina Kirchner, Iran, Latin America, U.S. Security

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy