Green Room

Iranian missiles in Venezuela

posted at 10:28 am on December 9, 2010 by

I have been posting about the close ties between Iran and Venezuela for years.

Last month Welt on Line published this report,
Achse Caracas–Teheran
Iran plant Bau einer Raketenstellung in Venezuela
(Caracas-Tehran Axis: Iran plans to build a missile base in Venezuela. You can read the Google translation here).

The article refers to an agreement signed on October 19 this year,

According to information received by Welt on Line, Iran’s Supreme Security Council had proposed a joint military facility on Venezuelan soil to increase the deterrent power of Iran against the West. The cooperation would be a way for Iran to build a strategic base in South American – in the backyard of the United States.

Coincidentally, on October 19, Barack Obama was saying that a nuclear Venezuela is fine by him.

Anna Mahjar-Barducci at Hudson New York has more on the Iran-Venezuela missile agreement,
Iran Placing Medium-Range Missiles in Venezuela; Can Reach the U.S.

At a moment when NATO members found an agreement, in the recent Lisbon summit (19-20 November 2010), to develop a Missile Defence capability to protect NATO’s populations and territories in Europe against ballistic missile attacks from the East (namely, Iran), Iran’s counter-move consists in establishing a strategic base in the South American continent – in the United States’s soft underbelly.

According to Die Welt, Venezuela has agreed to allow Iran to establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers, soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Venezuelan missile officers. In addition, Iran has given permission for the missiles to be used in case of an “emergency”. In return, the agreement states that Venezuela can use these facilities for “national needs” – radically increasing the threat to neighbors like Colombia. The German daily claims that according to the agreement, Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B (285-330 km) and Scud-C (300, 500 and 700 km) will be deployed in the proposed base. It says that Iran also pledged to help Venezuela in rocket technology expertise, including intensive training of officers.

Of course, considering the secret flights between Iran and Venezuela, Iranian personnel may be manning the technology in Venezuela.

Back in 2008 Italian daily La Stampa and AFP reported about Iran’s use of Venezuela to bypass UN sanctions. This strategy continues,

Venezuela has also become the country through which Iran intends to bypass UN sanctions. Following a new round of UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic, for example, Russia decided not to sell five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defence systems to Iran. These weapons, along with a number of other weapons, were part of a deal, signed in 2007, worth $800 million. Now that these weapons cannot be delivered to Iran, Russia is looking for new customers; according to the Russian press agency Novosti[2], it found one: Venezuela.

Novosti reports the words of Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank on international arms trade, saying that if the S-300 deal with Venezuela goes through, Caracas should pay cash for the missiles, rather than take another loan from Russia. “The S-300 is a very good product and Venezuela should pay the full amount in cash, as the country’s budget has enough funds to cover the deal ,” Korotchenko said. Moscow has already provided Caracas with several loans to buy Russian-made weaponry, including a recent $2.2-mln loan on the purchase of 92 T-72M1M tanks, the Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems and other military equipment.

If Iran, therefore, cannot get the S-300 missiles directly from Russia, it can still have them through its proxy, Venezuela, and deploy them against its staunchest enemy, the U.S..

Iran has missile technology,

But that is not all. According to Reuters, Iran has developed a version of the Russian S-300 missile and will test-fire it soon, as declared by the official news agency IRNA, two months after Moscow cancelled the delivery to comply with United Nations sanctions[3]. Iran, in fact, has its own capabilities for constructing missiles that could carry atomic warheads. According to a study recently released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, Iran is presently aiming to perfect the already existing solid-fuel, medium-range missile that can carry a nuke to hit regional targets, such as Israel[4]. If a missile base can be opened in Venezuela, many US cities will be able to be reached from there even with short-medium range missiles.

The Hudson article goes on to say that the Obama administration has a lax attitude. Don’t I wish the attitude was “lax”; as you can see from the link above, Obama’s given his blessing to a nuclear Venezuela.

The deadline on this? According to the Welt article, “both sides want to start building the project’s infrastructure by 2011.”

The Gateway Pundit, Israel Matzav and Doug Ross have more on this story.

Cross-posted at Fausta’s blog.

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Assuming this were true, the placement of IRBM’s in Venezuela would be meaningless unless they were armed with nuclear weapons. That would be an admission by Iran that they have them. The Soviets put IRBM’s in Cuba, leading to the Cuban missile crisis, because they were ringed by US missiles in Europe and Turkey and their only response would have been a handful of ICBM’s and a lot of bombers. This strikes me as history repeating itself. I find this story hard to believe.

NNtrancer on December 9, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Don’t I wish the attitude was “lax”; as you can see from the link above, Obama’s given his blessing to a nuclear Venezuela.

that’s a rather big bunch of bs and blather, Wertz,
or you haven’t learned the difference between generating electrical power and hurling bombs.

audiculous on December 9, 2010 at 11:36 AM

They do keep pushing the bar, right? I wonder if this is also part of Chavez plan to derail the next elections in Venezuela.

El Coqui on December 9, 2010 at 12:03 PM

diculous,
you haven’t learned the difference between generating electrical power and hurling bombs
Since you brought up bombs,
Of course all nuclear power in the hands of Hugo Chavez will go to “peaceful purposes” – the same way those 100 anti-aircraft weapons the Russians sold Chavez are for “peaceful purposes”, too.

Fausta Wertz on December 9, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Fausta,

Why don’t you try to explain just how a clown such as Chavez is going to take these two contemplated, unbuilt, not even begun to be built, Russian reactors and turn them into weaponry.

It can’t be done.

Not without all sorts of equipment and knowledge and years of re-processing and then you have to know how to design and build a weapon.
After that, you have to figure out how match it to a delivery system.

Chavez is a pretty vile creep and his regime is awful. But he and his pals are incompetent. They don’t know how to run a snack stand and they’ve managed to screw up Venezuela’s economy so badly that Chavez’s only hope to hold on another few years is to purge the military and run a police state.

He’s toast and all the public strutting in the world isn’t going to keep his dumb ass going.
Those 100 hand-held weapons from the Russians don’t pose much of a threat against combat aircraft.
And if the Russians managed to sell him some S-300s, what the hell is he going to do with them? Do you think that he has to resources to operate them and to integrate them into an effective national air-defense system that would protect Venezuela against a modern air force?

It’s just clown-show posturing and you’re taking it seriously.

audiculous on December 9, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Audiculous,
Make up your mind.
Either Chavez is generating electrical power and not hurling bombs, or he’s not going to be able to use the weapons and technology he’s receiving from Iran, Russia, etc.

Which one is it?

Take into consideration his ties to the FARC, and to the drug trade, both willing purchasers of weaponry. Is that “clown-show posturing”, too?

Chavez’s only hope to hold on another few years is to purge the military and run a police state
He’s already doing that, along with nationalizing the economy.

Fausta Wertz on December 9, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Wasn’t it just a few days ago that Mark Halperin was wishing Obama could have a good crisis that would allow him to demonstrate his leadership?

Wish granted. Don’t blow it this time, kid.

Does anybody believe he’ll handle this like, say, JFK? Invoke the Monroe Doctrine? Give them a stern scolding? Even call them on this?

flataffect on December 9, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Fausta, the confusion is all yours.

I was quite clear that’s he’s not going to be making any bombs from the Russian-built power plant.

And when I said that the other weaponry that he’s acquiring, or making noises about acquiring, will avail him little, it was only in response to your attempt to confuse the small amounts of conventional weaponry with nukes.

No nukes, Fausta are in Venezuela or will be in Venezuela any time soon and no large stockpile of defensive weapons (such as an advanced anti-aircraft system) exist, are coming to Venezuela, or serve any purpose other than to prevent puppet-show invasions from non-existent attackers.

No, Fausta, he’s not really tried yet to purge the military.

And all the nationalizing he’s doing to the Venezuelan economy nothing short of a disastrous failure. He’s on his way out.

audiculous on December 9, 2010 at 5:04 PM

he’s not really tried yet to purge the military
Raul Baduel would disagree with you.

And may God bless you, audiculous, for you are an optimist.

Fausta Wertz on December 9, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Fausta, thanks for the blessing, but one chopped tree is not a deforestation program, it’s a threat and an attempt at intimidation.

a year or so back, Chavez had a sitting judge, Maria Alfiuni, tossed in jail. that also was a threat to the members or the judiciary, not a purge.

A purge is more like what Chavez is doing to Venezuela’s labor unions or what he did to the state oil concern or the large food purveyors …. or the television stations.

I’m not optimistic, I just think that Chavez no great ability and has painted himself into a corner and is just gonna have to sit there and dry up.

audiculous on December 9, 2010 at 6:21 PM