Rubio: Iran Building Major Terrorist Network in Latin Americahttp://www.newsmax.com/
Thursday, 12 Apr 2012 05:01 PM
By Newsmax Wires
The Summit is an opportunity for Rubio to discuss the importance of democracy and trade with leaders from around the region, and help strengthen America’s relationships in this important part of the world.
Before departing, he appeared on the radio show, “From Washington Al Mundo”, and talked to host Mauricio Claver-Carone to discuss issues in Latin America including Iran’s influence, Venezuela’s upcoming elections and the importance of embracing democracy & free enterprise.
Excerpts from that interview:
Rubio on Iran’s Influence in the Western Hemisphere
Mauricio Claver-Carone: “You’ve expressed concern about Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere. And this has actually gone from, in the last few years, from speculation to fact as there’s been intelligence plots that have unfolded in Mexico with Iranian officials and Venezuelan officials and Cuban intelligence officials. We see that there are investments and transactions and perhaps even that Iran is trying to launder money to kind of deviate from its sanctions through Latin America. Are you comfortable that enough consideration is given to this potential threat?”
Senator Marco Rubio: “Well, it’s an evolving one that we need to keep an eye on. Right now, the way I would characterize the threat of the Iran presence in the Western hemisphere is three-fold. First and foremost, it has remained a diplomatic one. Basically, they’re just looking to show the world, ‘Hey we’re not isolated, we have friends and our friends are in Nicaragua, you know, Venezuela, Cuba,’ things of that nature. So I think that’s still their primary presence in the region. I mean, they’re always looking at how to avoid sanctions by funneling things through a Venezuelan bank or a Nicaraguan bank or something like that.
“And then the third, which I think is the one that will grow in importance in the next few years, is their intelligence platform. Their Quds Force presence in the region, as they continue to invest in what they call ‘cultural centers’ and as they begin to train intelligence officers in the region and so forth. Again, I’m not sure that we’re at the emergency stage yet, but it is a growing problem and one that we need to keep an eye on. I think certainly if you look at the way Iran throws its weight around the world, one of the things that it hopes to be able to do is punch above its weight by being able to wage asymmetrical warfare, which basically means they’re not going to try to match us aircraft carrier to aircraft carrier. What they’re going to try to do is be able to attack us using third-party terrorists. They use terrorism as a part of their stagecraft, as a part of their foreign policy. The ability to stage those kinds of attacks from the Western Hemisphere against our own interests is something that I think they’re interested in building up the capability to do. We’ve got to keep an eye on that and be willing to counter it, and also send a very clear message to leaders in the Western Hemisphere that the United States is not going to tolerate terrorist threats emerging from our own hemisphere. Luckily, it’s contained to a handful of rogue countries and rogue leaders I should say, like Hugo Chavez and others, who continue to embarrass themselves and their countries by aligning themselves with people like Gaddafi and Assad and now Iran as well.”
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