POSSIBLE COOPERATION BETWEEN IRAN, VENEZUELA AND ARGENTINA

A number of Congressmen have requested an investigation of possible nuclear cooperation between Venezuela, Iran and Argentina. Suspicions of such connections are based on information made available by the State Department.

According to sources, Iran is interested in a program of modernization of the Argentine nuclear plants. Argentina maintained a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran that was suspended in the early 90’s by the Argentinean government. Then, tensions between the two countries deteriorated as a result of the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the Jewish Community Center in 1994. An Argentinean court  has made Iran responsible for those atrocities.  Some have even raised suspicions that these attacks could have been triggered by the very fact that Argentina suspended its nuclear cooperation with Iran.

The Miami Herald reports that the current new information indicates that in 2007 Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad made a personal request to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to use his relations with the Argentinean government to persuade President Kirchner to resume the nuclear cooperation program. State Department documents indicate that there have been money transfers of $ 300 million for agricultural projects that were supposed to be undertaken in Venezuela. However, these projects were not built in Venezuela. Thus, it has raised the suspicion that the money was transferred to Argentina.

Last year Argentina’s president, Cristina Kirchner, announced that her country would be able to produce and provide enriched uranium to all the nuclear reactors in Argentina by September of this year. Argentina has reached the most advanced stage of development of nuclear and satellite technology in Latin America. It also exports nuclear reactors to countries such as Algiers and Australia.

Though the evidence implicating Argentina is still not clear, it is important to point out that last April an Argentinean local paper published a story saying that Argentina had offered Iran (in a meeting with President Bashar Assad of Syria) a deepening of economic relations. In return Argentina would stop investigations and other procedures against Iran in relation to the bombings. When the Argentinean government was asked to respond to this allegation, Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman first chose not to answer. Later he responded by saying, “He would not dignify the report with a comment, and that he does not have to give a third country an accounting of Argentina’s relations with Iran.” Later in a visit to Israel, he denied those reports.

Argentina is closely aligned with Venezuela, which in turn has a strong relationship with Iran. Argentina has taken a public position against Iran but sympathizes with Chavez’s anti-American agenda without being extremely vocal about it. (to learn more about Argentina’s ideology and policy, click here .

 If, indeed, Argentina is involved in some sort of nuclear cooperation with Iran, it would be in violation of the United Nations sanctions against Iran approved last year by the United Nations Security Council.

Since the State Department initially brought this information to light, it should be responsive to the inquiries made by U.S. Representatives Ileana Ross Lethinen, David Rivera and Connie Mack.

 

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