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Bienvenido Señor Ahmadinejad: Tehran’s Expanding Latin American Grid

Council on Hemispheric Affairs:

• Iran’s influence in Latin America, serious threat or paper tiger?

• Rumors of Iran’s involvement have been greatly overstated

• Despite concerns, U.S. must avoid “meddling”

As concern grows in Washington over the potential threat that Iran poses to the United States and its allies, scant attention has been given to the Islamic Republic’s expanding influence in Latin America. In the past year, a number of events revealed Iran’s increasing links to the region, most of which have been economic in nature, although political gambits have also proved important. While Iran’s increased involvement in Latin America may have the potential to present a threat to U.S. security, such threats may be overstated and not a justified concern. Despite what those seeking to demonize the Latin American left would have the U.S. public believe, the security implications of an Iranian presence in the region may well be minimal. Rather, the relationship is more likely to challenge Washington’s ability to exert itself abroad.

The deepening of the relationship between Iran and much of Latin America is the product of two converging factors. In recent years, Latin America has witnessed the rise of the “new left,” a political ideology characterized by socialist, nationalist, and anti-imperialist components. Read more

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