House resolution fights Iranian influence


A U.S. House of Representatives resolution is trying to curtail Iranian influence in Latin America.

The resolution, which passed Tuesday, calls on the Bush administration to engage Latin American governments in joint counterterrorism activities.

Its passage comes as Interpol’s General Assembly is meeting to decide whether to uphold arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese who are believed to be responsible for the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina in 1994.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has built ties with Latin American leaders in recent years, forged relationships with Bolivia and Venezuela, initiated direct flights from Caracas to Tehran and signed agreements with South American governments worth billions of dollars. Iran also plays a direct role in supporting the Venezuelan oil industry.

“Iran’s intention is clear – they are seeking to do in Venezuela what the former Soviet Union did in Cuba: establish a base of operations in the Western Hemisphere that will destabilize the balance of power,” said Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), a co-sponsor of the bill with Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.). “Ahmadinejad’s words and actions, and those of his close friend Hugo Chavez, undermine the foundations of freedom and democracy in Latin America.”

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