Sources have told The Washington Times the almost entirely classified document concluded that Iran is not supporting active terrorist cells in the Western Hemisphere. While the State Department found the number of Iranian officials operating in Latin America has increased in recent years, the overall assessment put Tehran’s influence far lower than lawmakers such as Mr. Duncan and Mr. McCaul suggest.
No one from the State Department was called to testify at Tuesday’s hearing before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency. Despite Mr. Nisman’s absence, others testifying included Douglas Farah, a former journalist and president of IBI Consultants; Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council; Blaise Misztal of the Foreign Policy Bipartisan Policy Center; and Joseph Humire of the Center for a Secure Free Society.
Mr. Farah claimed Iran’s influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is “in fact growing on multiple fronts.”
“To understand how,” he said, “one must understand the changing context in which Iran is operating in Latin America, including the bloc of nations allied with Iran and the transnational criminal pipelines that traverse the hemisphere and successfully breach our southern border thousands of times each day.”
Iranian leaders, noted Mr. Farah, have a “doctrine of asymmetrical warfare against the United States and its allies that explicitly endorses as legitimate the use of weapons of mass destruction.”
Others were circumspect.
“With the passing from the stage of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — the two personalities that, over the course of the last decade, most drove the Iranian-Latin American relationship — Iran’s efforts to secure political backing and economic assistance from Latin America have arrived at a natural inflection point,” said Mr. Misztal.
“Chavez’s death weakened the Venezuelan government and its anti-American allies in Havana, La Paz, and Quito, who form Iran’s natural constituency in the region,” he said. “Their anemic economic performance will further weaken these regimes, and limit their ability to assist Iran.”