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CRS-Iran, August 8, 2011

CRS-Iran, August 8, 2011

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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Dr. Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs August 8, 2011

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL32048

CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Summary
The Obama Administration views Iran as a major threat to U.S. national security interests, a perception generated not only by uncertainty about Iran’s intentions for its nuclear program but also by its mater
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
Dr. Kenneth Katzman Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs August 8, 2011

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL32048

CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Summary
The Obama Administration views Iran as a major threat to U.S. national security interests, a perception generated not only by uncertainty about Iran’s intentions for its nuclear program but also by its mater

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Published by: Confederation of Iranian students on Oct 23, 2011
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The relationship between Venezuela and Iran has attracted substantial attention, particularly
during Ahmadinejad’s presidency. On October 30, 2007, then-Secretary of Homeland Security
Michael Chertoff said that Iran’s relationship with Venezuela is an emerging threat because it
represents a “marriage” of Iran’s extremist ideology with “those who have anti-American views.”
On January 27, 2009, Secretary of Defense Gates said Iran was trying to build influence in Latin
America by expanding front companies and opening offices in countries there. The April 2010

57

Gertz, Bill. “CIA Points to Continuing Iran Tie to Al Qaeda.” Washington Times, July 23, 2004.

58

“Tehran Pledges to Crack Down on Militants.” Associated Press, July 18, 2005.

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Congressional Research Service

52

Defense Department report on Iran was the first U.S. government publication to say that Qods
Force personnel are in Venezuela, where their presence has “increased” in recent years.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has visited Iran on several occasions, offering to engage in
joint oil and gas projects, and Ahmadinejad has visited Venezuela officially. It was reported in
May 2011 that the two may have signed an agreement in October 2010 to develop a joint missile
base in Venezuela, but Venezuela has denied these reports. On the other hand, a State Department
official testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 24, 2011, that Iran’s
embassy in Caracas has only about 14 diplomats and is not particularly active in terms of open
diplomatic activity, casting doubt on reports that Iran has a large, active presence in Venezuela.

However, many accounts say that most of the agreements between Iran and Venezuela are
agreements in principle that have not been implemented in reality. Among the arrangements
implemented are the establishment of direct air links through an obscure air service dedicated to
this route. A firm deal for Petroleos de Venezuela to supply Iran with gasoline was signed in
September 2009, apparently in a joint effort to circumvent the reduction in worldwide sales of
gasoline to Iran. Because of this trade, the firm was sanctioned under the Iran Sanctions Act in
May 2011 (see CRS Report RS20871, Iran Sanctions, by Kenneth Katzman.) About 400 Iranian
engineers have reportedly been sent to Venezuela to work on infrastructure projects there.

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