ON-Lion Letter
In a recent article, “Iran and the New Monroe Doctrine,” available through Foreign Affairs, American Foreign Policy Council vice president Ilan Berman warns the Obama Administration that it must acknowledge and confront the growing presence of Iran in Central and South America. 

Berman asserts that it is time to reassess Washington's longstanding conventional wisdom that Iran’s activities in Latin America are of little consequence.  Based on recent evidence of Iran’s strategic cooperation with the region’s anti-American regimes, Berman argues that Tehran is seeking to build an anti-U.S. axis in America's geopolitical backyard.

Specifically, Berman highlights Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's six-nation tour of Latin America in late August, which included visits to states belonging to the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA), an anti-American regional bloc convened by Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro in the early 2000s.  Zarif's trip also coincided with the official opening of a new ALBA regional defense school in Bolivia, which offers courses that focus on combating U.S. influence in the region.  Berman notes that Iran is known to have provided some of the seed money for the school’s construction.

In addition, Berman emphasizes that over the last three decades, Iran has successfully established a network of intelligence bases throughout Latin America, including states such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.  According to Berman, this network has allowed Iran to initiate or support various plots against the United States in 2007 and 2011.

Berman cautions that "the White House has consistently turned a blind eye to signs of Iranian rogue behavior abroad," which he argues is "a grave mistake" as Iran's strategy in Latin America enters "a new phase."

Ilan Berman is an expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation.  In addition to serving as the vice president of AFPC, he has consulted for the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense, and he is a member of the associated faculty at Missouri State University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies.  

Berman has written extensively on Iran's activities, including Iran's Deadly Ambition: The Islamic Republic’s Quest for Global Power, which is available through Encounter Books.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports AFPC and Encounter Books.
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