Washington must have seriously hoped to derail Ahmadinejad's plan for his recent Latin American tour. Predictably, the tide of anti-Iranian propaganda which swept across the continent on its eve was centered around “the terrorist threat”, with allegations made en masse that by hosting the Iranian leader the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador not only demonstrated their hostility towards Washington but even somehow ate away at the US national security. For example, claims were made, with no evidence cited, that the Iranian intelligence service maintains a network of bases in the countries with regimes friendly to Tehran and that agents from these bases – extremists and saboteurs – occasionally cross into the US. Up to date the US intelligence community has not intercepted any Iranian guerrillas trained in Venezuela or Cuba and had to float completely mythical stories. Fabricated hastily, those abounded with discrepancies and clearly fell short of the established Hollywood standards, especially in terms of casting and staging. Somebody Mansour J. Arbabsiar, 56, a naturalized US citizen of Iranian origin, was arrested in October, 2011 as a key player in an alleged Iranian plot to blow up the Israeli embassy and to kill a Saudi diplomat in Washington. Supposedly, Arbabsiar told an undercover agent that he was receiving instructions from high-profile Iranian operators interested in getting Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel, to carry out terrorist acts in the US. The fiction proved hard to sell to those who actually knew Arbabsiar in the US and in Iran and in a chorus described him as a chronically disorganized or even “worthless“ individual, plus a psychologically dependent person with a possible record of substance abuse. As the dust started to settle down, the common impression was that the guy was used by the US intelligence community like Lee Harvey Oswald, a suspect drawn into the JFK assassination case to divert the attention from the real perpetrators.
On December 8, the Univision Spanish-language channel bestowed on its audiences revelations about alleged Iranian and Venezuelan plans for a massive cyber-attack against the United States from Mexico in a documentary titled “The Iranian Threat”. According to the authors of the piece, the list of targets comprised the White House, the Pentagon, and the FBI, and the consequences could surpass in severity those of the September 11 terrorist acts. The documentary placed Venezuela’s consul general in Miami Livia Acosta Noguera at the center of the conspiracy – supposedly, she had regular conversations with student hackers from Mexico's National Autonomous University, probing into their ability to steal confidential materials, and the kids offered their services to Cuban and Iranian diplomats. Diplomats do know very well that the National Autonomous University tends to be the scene of strenuous CIA recruiting activity, and the US intelligence community had to scrap the whole operation when one of the hackers was unmasked during a trip to Iran.
Acosta took the position in Miami in March, 2011 to be declared non grata in ten months without being confronted with any formal charges. Simply, Washington urgently needed a sensation to counter the success scored by Ahmadinejad during the Latin American tour, and the scandal over alleged cyber-attacks which culminated in the deportation of Acosta was all the US could come up with absent anything real. In the aftermath, Chavez remarked ironically that the sheer number of charges leveled at Acosta undermined the credibility of the case, but also said that in fact the accusations came from the Miami-based ultra-right and taking her back to Caracas became expedient for the woman's safety.
Andrés Oppenheimer, an Argentinian-born politics watcher based in the US, is a serial manufacturer of publications targeting Ahmadinejad whom he ordinarily refers to as a fascist dictator and a bloody tyrant. The definitions suit Oppenheimer's arch-conservative audience. In his January paper in ABS Digital, he stresses that the US Department of State considers two answers to the question about Ahmadinejad's Latin American agenda. The first one is that the “terrorist” regime boldly attempted to demonstrate its might in the proximity of the US, cooperates with Venezuela (and, possibly, with Ecuador) in mining Uranium to feed its nuclear program, and is cultivating a network of agents in the region to be ready to launch an attack against the US in case Washington and Tel Aviv do take to hammering Iran's nuclear facilities. The second one is that Ahmadinejad's visit to Latin America actually signaled the weakness of the increasingly isolated Iranian regime and that Ahmadinejad meant to convince his countrymen that he still has an iconic status in some parts of the world as a champion of resistance to the Empire. De facto relaying the position of the US Department of State and warning Latin American governments against welcoming Ahmadinejad, Oppenheimer argued that the Iranian leader brings to the region the conflicts in which its nations have no stake and invoked the blasts that shattered Jewish facilities in Argentine in the 1990ies. In conclusion, Oppenheimer quoted a US Department of State source as saying that the Iranian threat to the US national security in Latin America exists in a latent form. At least that must be true – throughout the tour, Ahmadinejad and his partners talked about the economy, politics, energy, etc. with no military planners in sight.
So far Chavez avoided commenting on the West's likely oil embargo against Iran, but his past projections that the cost of crude would jump to $250 per barrel if developments around Iran take an abnormal turn hardly sank into oblivion. Perhaps, what he meant was the situation where the US and Israel unleash a war against Iran and it mines the Hormuz Strait in response. The Iranian navy's recent maneuvers in the area showed that Tehran remains immune to threats, and the traffic via one of the world's key oil supply avenues will surely be blocked if a war breaks out. On the other hand, Chavez does not seem to believe in the reality of the scenario judging by the fact that he pledged to visit Tehran late in 2012, that is, after winning the presidential race in Venezuela.
It did not evade watchers that both Ahmadinejad and those who received him in the ALBA bloc's capitals, including Havana, refrained from strongly worded anti-American statements. Summarizing his talks with the Castro brothers, Ahmadiejad said Iran and its Latin American friends had a common front in the struggle for the rights of peoples, shared views and positions, and will always stay together. Greeting the Iranian leader in Managua, D. Ortega whose second presidential term began a couple of days ago expressed support for Iran's right to nuclear energy and called nuclear-armed countries, Israel among them, to get rid of their arsenals. In Ecuador, R. Correa stressed that nobody would be allowed to tell his sovereign country whom to be friends with – Ecuador would at all times be strengthening ties with the countries open to cooperation with it based on the principles of national dignity and mutual respect.
While the US domestic anti-Iranian sensations evoke little trust if any, the efficiency of the struggle waged by Iran's security forces against the agents of the CIA, Mossad, and other Western intelligence agencies appears to be steadily growing. Under the current circumstances, Tehran simply has no choice but to focus on counter-espionage as Iranian nuclear scientists and military officers routinely get killed by magnetic bombs or sniper shots, the country's air space is invaded by drones spotting targets for future missile attacks, and, by all indications, an imperialist aggression is drawing closer. Reports of enemy agents' networks being discovered are released in Iran on a regular basis, with at least 30 CIA agents apprehended in 2011. US citizen Amir Mirza Hekmati, 28, was the last in the list – he returned to his homeland with the stated goal of seeing his relatives but was taken into custody after it transpired he was collecting data on the Iranian armed forces. As the investigation was unfolding, Hekmati admitted to spying for the CIA and to having been trained at the US Air Force base in Bagram (Afghanistan) and is sentenced to death by the Iranian court.
The propaganda onslaught on Iran is gaining momentum. The country's Islamic regime is being demonized by the pro-US media and the Zionist influencers who, it must be noted, are in the position of dominance in the post-Soviet space. Consequently, the progressive analysts are right when they hold that, by launching the Latin American tour, Ahmadinejad broke the US diplomatic blockade and dealt a heavy blow to the Zionist smear campaign.