October 1, 2023

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Iranian drones; now in the Western Hemisphere

TEHRAN- On August 17, the Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank, published a report titled “Iran’s Weapons Now Reach the Western Hemisphere,” discussing the military presence of Iran in Latin America.

Iran’s military development, especially with the mass production of drones in recent years, has placed it among the most advanced countries. The Ukraine war added weight to the importance of Iranian drones. 

Parallel to the importance of Iranian drones, Western media outlets have also increased their rhetoric about Iran’s defense program. A similar approach was followed in recent years regarding Iranian missiles. In this regard, the Heritage Foundation discussed the export of Iranian military equipment, especially drones. 

Referring to the recent Iran-Bolivia agreement and sale of the Iranian missiles to Venezuela, the report concluded that Iran is exploiting its military capacity in the Western Hemisphere. According to Joseph Humire, the writer of the article in the think tank “Iran’s goal is to bring war to America. Bolivia is the most successful project of Iran’s foreign policy in Latin America.” 

Humire said before 2007, Iran had no diplomatic presence in Bolivia.  

Pointing to the development of Iran’s military ties with other Latin American countries, the report names Venezuela the first country that is armed with Iranian weapons.  

The report also states: “Venezuela received shipments of Iranian short-range missiles in 2021, which are likely to be used in drones.”

In addition to Bolivia and Venezuela, the Heritage Foundation said, other Latin American countries such as Nicaragua and Cuba are also considering military cooperation with Iran, and Iran’s cooperation with Latin American countries has even extended to U.S. allies. 

It added not long ago, Iranian warships docked on the coast of Brazil. According to the conservative think tank, Iran is rapidly extending its military program in Latin America. 

Humire finally warns Washington to pay more attention to these events, saying Iran is not just sending weapons to Latin America, rather it is normalizing military presence in the Western Hemisphere. 

Iran is also pushing Latin American countries towards anti-U.S. and anti-Israel positions, it said, suggesting Washington’s response to the events would determine whether the United States is serious about countering Iran’s influence in the continent. 

Regarding the report of the Heritage Foundation about Iranian drones, some noteworthy points will be mentioned below:

Simultaneous with Iran’s military progress, its armaments and military equipment caused the heads to turn. Although Iran has been the subject of sanctions, its military ties have been expanded since many years ago. However, legal obstacles to military sanctions on Iran will be lifted by October. Based on the previous agreements, restrictions on the import and export of items related to Iran’s long-range missiles will be lifted within two months, which is important from different aspects. 

First of all, Iran’s arms exports are economically important. With the significant development of missiles and drones, Iran has many customers, so it can earn significant revenues. The second benefit of arms export is its strategic importance. The export of military equipment has mostly been controlled by a few countries. Iran’s entry into the club of countries exporting advanced military weapons will push the country one step closer to its goal as an emerging power.

However, Western governments are resistant to lifting arms sanctions on Iran due to its rising military power. Iran’s export of military equipment to vulnerable countries is deemed unacceptable by Western governments. This is because Iranian military exports may create a kind of military balance in the face of Western domination. 

The third major gain of Iran’s arms export is the security issue. For years, Iran was surrounded by American military bases, which were a threat to Iran, and Iran basically did not plan to threaten the United States. While in recent years, with the start of Iran’s military exports to Latin America, Iran is considered a threat to the United States, according to the Heritage Foundation.

For decades, the United States prevented the military influence of other countries in Latin America. The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 during the Cold War was the moment when the United States and the Soviet Union came close to nuclear conflict. The Cuban Missile Crisis was caused by the resistance of the United States against the Soviet Union’s security influence in Latin America.

Currently, the presence of Iranian drones and missiles in Latin America, as reported by the American think tank, may extend a possible war with Iran to the U.S. borders. As a result, if Iran’s deterrence power depended solely on the presence of American bases in West Asia until recent years, Iran’s ability to threaten the U.S. is vital to its national security and cannot be ignored by American officials. 

Western media outlets’ controversies stem from the Western governments’ attempt to prevent Iran’s deterrence advancement. Although American media outlets seek to present Iranian drones in Latin America as a global threat, the security cooperation between Iran and Latin America is considered one of the main reasons for preventing war in West Asia. 

Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/488862/Iranian-drones-now-in-the-Western-Hemisphere

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