Reports indicate that an Iranian outreach program is targeting young adults from countries south of the American border. The program is responsible for sending hundreds of Latin Americans to the Middle Eastern nation for “intensive Spanish-language instruction in Iranian religion and culture,” and is heavily supervised by a man who is wanted internationally on terrorism charges.
According to U.S. officials, the initiative is part of an Iranian government sponsored plot to gain influence in the Western Hemisphere by building an army of supporters in the U.S.’s backyard.
…The initiative includes not only the recruitment of foreign students for special study inside Iran, but also direct outreach to Latin countries through the construction of mosques and cultural centers and, beginning last year, a new cable-TV network that broadcasts Iranian programming in Spanish.
Regional experts say such “soft power” initiatives are mainly political, intended in particular to strengthen Tehran’s foothold in countries such as Venezuela and Ecuador, which share similar anti-American views. But in some cases, Iranian officials have sought to enlist Latin Americans for espionage and even hacking operations targeting U.S. computer systems, according to U.S. and Latin American law-enforcement and intelligence officials.
A report issued in May by an Argentine prosecutor cited evidence of “local clandestine intelligence networks” organized by Iran in several South American countries.
Singled out in the report is an Iranian cleric and government official, Mohsen Rabbani, who runs several programs in Iran for Latin American students…
…Rabbani has made no secret of his interest in drawing in young Latin Americans who admire Iran’s fiery defiance of the West. A report for Congress by IBI Consultants, a Washington-based research company that advises U.S. government agencies on Latin American terrorism and drug-trafficking networks, estimated that more than 1,000 people from the region have undergone training, mostly under Rabbani’s supervision, in Iran since 2007…
Meanwhile, a Fox affiliate in Pheonix, Ariz., reports that illegal aliens may be exploiting a U.S. Customs and Border Protection loophole to get into the Nation. All the aliens have to do, according to the report, is claim that they have a “credible fear” of being attacked by Mexican drug cartels.
Nearly 200 people claimed a “credible fear” of drug cartels in a single day at the Otay Mesa crossing south of San Diego, according to the report.
Reckon they learned the immigration trick from Iranian training?