Iran plans to build a rocket in Venezuela

Both countries are intensifying their relationship – at all levels. A secret treaty also provides for joint ground-to-surface missiles.

Iran intends to set up a base for medium-range missiles on Venezuelan soil and deepen its strategic cooperation with the regime of Hugo Chávez. As World Online learned from western security circles, an agreement between the two countries was signed on the last visit by the Venezuelan president to Tehran on 19 October. The hitherto secret treaty provides for the establishment of a jointly operated rocket base in Venezuela and the joint development of ground-to-surface missiles.

The agreement follows a recommendation by the Supreme Iranian Security Council to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and religious leader Ali Khamenei a few months ago. According to this newspaper, the Security Council had proposed a joint military facility on Venezuelan soil to increase Iran’s deterrent power against the West. The cooperation would be an opportunity for Iran to establish a strategic base on the South American continent – in the backyard of the United States.

According to “World Online” information, Venezuela is committed to allowing Iran to build a military base to be manned by Iranian missile officers, Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers and Venezuelan missile officers, primarily as a storage location for strategic Iranian weapons In addition, Iran is said to have been given permission to fire rockets from mobile bases in an emergency, in return for which the agreement states that Venezuela can use the base for “national needs.” That would increase the threat to neighbors such as Colombia. Iran is also committed to providing Venezuela with know-how in missile technology, such as through intensive training of officers.

It is also planned to develop a joint ground-to-surface missile, based on the extensive experience of the Iranians. The agreement also envisages moving Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300 to 1500 kilometers), Scud-B missiles (285 to 330 kilometers) and Scud-C missiles (300, 500 and 700 kilometers) to the new base and four mobile launchers. According to information from “World Online”, a suitable location for the base has yet to be found.

However, both sides want to start construction of the infrastructure of the military facility by the end of 2011. The intensive training for Venezuelan officers will take place in the coming months in the Tehran Sharif University. There, the Venezuelans will be taught about LPG propulsion of rocket engines, about navigation systems and the analysis of rocket performance.

Washington is watching this development with growing distrust. When Chávez set out for his first visit to Tehran half a decade ago, he was ridiculed. Since then he has been there nine times – three times in the past year and a half alone. Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, visited Venezuela four times. Several hundred cooperation agreements have been signed since then, 250 in September alone and another 70 in October. Close contacts have been established between the two countries at all levels so that one can confidently speak of an “axis Caracas-Tehran”.

Chávez has long been one of the main pillars of the Iranian nuclear program. He defends it wordy internationally and scourges the sanctions against Iran. In September, he publicly admitted for the first time that his country had undertaken “preparatory studies” to establish its own nuclear program, which was to serve “purely peaceful goals”. He did not deny the close cooperation with Tehran. In any case, Western intelligence has extensive evidence.

Nevertheless, it hit like a bomb when Roger Noriega summed up some of it in an article for a wider public in early October in the journal Foreign Policy. In the paper “Chávez’s Secret Nuclear Program,” the former Republican deputy foreign minister and current adviser to the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, Chávez has been systematically working on building its own nuclear program for two years.

The basis is the secret agreement on scientific and technological cooperation with Teheran signed in November 2008. This will help Iran avoid international sanctions and uranium. Factively Noriega shows how Chávez cleverly disguise these preparations. So it is no secret that Venezuela in the state of Bolivar has one of the largest uranium deposits in the world. Iran is now active there, allegedly in a goldmine. Since then, the airspace around the plant has been widely closed to civil aviation. In addition, a special unit stationed there received transport helicopters of the type Mi-17V-5 in February this year – equipped with rockets and machine guns.

The direct flights between the two countries are also excluded from any control. You can not book them, takeoffs and landings take place on a military part of Caracas airport. Has Venezuela become the major supplier of uranium to Tehran? For a long time, there has also been a jointly operated shipping company with which Venezuela is supposed to supply crude oil to Europe. The entire management of the Venezuelan ports is also in the hands of Cuban security forces as well as the airports. Cuba provides Chávez with military personnel – he has not trusted his own forces since the failed coup attempt of 2002.

Recently, the Venezuelan-Iranian Energy Committee met for the eighth time to discuss even closer cooperation. Allegedly, bilateral trade between the two countries has reached $ 5 billion. Iran has built companies in Venezuela for the production of products as diverse as milk, bicycles, cement or tractors. However, only six machines are said to have left the tractor plant last year, and there is no such thing as significant cement production.

Are they fake companies to bypass the sanctions and to launder money? For a long time there has been a joint Venezuelan-Iranian bank chaired by the recently resigned central bank chief Tahmasb Mazaheri. Even the controversial Iranian Saderat Bank of Iran is active in Venezuela. Noriega points out that the Inter-American Development Bank deals with the financial settlement of Iranian business in Venezuela – a violation of UN resolutions. That would have to raise the alarm bells in Berlin as well. Germany has been an associate member of this institute since 1979, the largest multilateral donor for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Venezuelan-Iranian friendship also sheds light on Chávez’s recent arms purchases in Russia. In September, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stopped the sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles agreed with Tehran in 2007 for UN sanctions. Shortly afterwards, Chávez declared in Moscow that he wanted to acquire it. Venezuela has been buying weapons worth over five billion dollars in Russia since 2005, including 24 Suchoi Su-30 fighters, 50 combat helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Only a month ago, Chávez forced the state-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA to sell its 50 percent stake in the German Ruhr oil company – to the Russian oil company Rosneft, allegedly well below price. With the proceeds of 1.6 billion dollars Chávez will probably buy new weapons. He has also signed an agreement with Moscow for the construction of a Venezuelan nuclear power plant.

The Americans can not be indifferent to the unholy alliance between Tehran and Caracas. Iranian missiles on a Venezuelan military base, which could potentially reach the US in the medium term, evoke memories of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Source » welt

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