WASHINGTON (JTA) — Helping Iran promote itself in Latin America is a "really bad idea" for the countries involved, Hillary Rodham Clinton said.
The U.S. secretary of state hosted an electronic town hall on Friday with students from across the United States on the topic of U.S. relations with Latin America.
One student raised allegations that nations such as China and Iran are obtaining Latin American passports for their nationals to facilitate travel. Clinton said she favored better trade ties with China, but warned against corrupt practices.
Regarding Iran, Clinton said, "We also are well aware of Iran’s interests in promoting itself with a number of other countries — Venezuela and Bolivia, as you mentioned — and we can only say that that is a really bad idea for the countries involved. And we hope that there will be a recognition that this is the major supporter, promoter and exporter of terrorism in the world today."
Reports suggest that Iran is backing Hezbollah terrorist cells in parts of South America, is involved in contraband smuggling, and is seeking new sources of uranium.
Clinton singled out Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a human rights abuser in Iran and said it "is deeply involved in the economy as well as the security issues of Iran. And I think that if people want to flirt with Iran, they should take a look at what the consequences might well be for them, and we hope that they will think twice, and we’re going to support them if they do."