On September 13th 2020, a delegation of senior Iranian officials arrived in the capital of Venezuela. The delegation members included Hassan Kazemi Ghomi, who works for Quds Force; and businessmen who are also Quds Force facilitators—Hamid Arab-Nejad, CEO of the Iranian airline Mahan Air, and Parviz Bahrami Rad, CEO of Chilco Company. A few days later, Seyed Bader al-Din Na’imi Musavi, an Iranian businessman who owns companies in Iran and Dubai, joined the delegation.
The Iranian delegation’s trip to Venezuela was covert. So much so, the flight was registered as a cargo flight in order to prevent its true nature from being exposed. The delegation’s visit took place under heavy security by Venezuela’s presidential guard. Reportedly, the delegation stayed at the luxurious Eurobuilding Hotel in Caracas throughout its three-day visit.
The Iranian delegation held a series of meetings with senior officials in Venezuela, including a long meeting at the hotel with Tareck el-Aissami, minister of industry and oil and former vice president of Venezuela. Hamid Arab-Nejad and Seyed Bader al-Din Na’imi Musavi visited Venezuela again on December 17th, and held meetings with local officials.
The delegations’ visits were part of the efforts to promote the economic ties between Iran and Venezuela, which are also meant to yield profits to fund Quds Force.Ghomi is in Venezuela at present to pursue these efforts.
This is not the first time Quds Force has used Venezuela for its operational needs for terror activity. Reported in the past that the son of the Leader’s bureau chief, a Unit 840 operative, was on his way to carry out activity in Venezuela. Iran has chosen to use Venezuela to pursue its interests due to Venezuela’s geographical proximity to the U.S. and its administration’s close ties with Tehran, among other things.