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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wikileaks: Hillary asks about Iran's Latin American plans

This Wikileaks cable, from January 2009 and classified as "secret,", shows that the State Department was researching exactly what Iran's plans for Latin America are. It is attributed directly to Hillary Clinton. It is filled with dozens of questions to be researched and answered.

Some of these questions would appear to be more properly answered by the CIA, although it appears that the State Department has a set of "Iran watchers."

Question A4, asking whether Hezbollah and Iran share strategic interests, seems dangerously naive.

I don't know if the "converts" in B1 refer to converts to Shi'a Islam, which would indicate that Iran is using Islam to recruit spies.

In general, the questions being asked are the right ones.

Here is most of the cable:


WASHINGTON ANALYSTS ASSESS THAT TEHRAN IS 
REACHING OUT TO LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES IN ORDER TO REDUCE 
ITS DIPLOMATIC ISOLATION AND INCREASE TIES TO LEFTIST 
COUNTRIES IN THE REGION THAT TEHRAN PERCEIVES MAY SHARE ITS 
ANTI-US AGENDA. PRESIDENT AHMADI-NEJAD APPEARS TO BE THE 
DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THIS POLICY, AND HE HAS RECEIVED 
PERSONAL ASSISTANCE FROM VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ. 
IRAN'S TIES WITH VENEZUELA, WHICH INCLUDE MILITARY 
COOPERATION, ARE THE CLOSEST AND MOST SIGNIFICANT. GIVEN THE 
HIGH-PROFILE IRAN-VENEZUELA RELATIONSHIP, HIZBALLAH-LINKED 
INDIVIDUALS PROBABLY SEE VENEZUELA AS A SAFEHAVEN WHERE THEY 
CAN CONDUCT FUNDRAISING AND SUPPORT ACTIVITIES WITHOUT 
INTERFERENCE. OTHER POPULIST GOVERNMENTS LIKE BOLIVIA, 
ECUADOR, AND NICARAGUA HAVE ALSO SOUGHT TO CREATE CLOSER 
POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC TIES WITH IRAN. IRAN HAS ESTABLISHED 
CULTURAL CENTERS IN 16 COUNTRIES OF THE REGION AND HAS 
EMBASSIES IN 10 COUNTRIES. AS TIME AND RESOURCES PERMIT AND 
AS APPLICABLE TO POST, ANALYSTS AND SENIOR LEVEL POLICYMAKERS 
WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE ANY INFORMATION ON THE FOLLOWING 
TOPICS/QUESTIONS THAT YOU COLLECT DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR 
NORMAL MEETINGS/BUSINESS ACTIVITIES. 

A. (U) FOR IRAN WATCHERS AND THE IRAN REGIONAL PRESENCE 
OFFICE (IRPO): 

1) (S/NF) BEYOND IRAN'S OVERT POLICY TO INCREASE ITS 
DIPLOMATIC AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS IN THE REGION, WE LACK 
INFORMATION ON TEHRAN'S STRATEGIC INTENTIONS. WHAT DOES 
TEHRAN SEE AS THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF IRAN'S OUTREACH TO LATIN 
AMERICA? HOW HIGH A PRIORITY IS LATIN AMERICA FOR IRANIAN 
FOREIGN POLICY? DOES TEHRAN ENVISION BECOMING A KEY REGIONAL 
PLAYER IN LATIN AMERICA? WHERE DOES IRAN THINK IT IS IN TERMS 
OF DEVELOPING RELATIONS WITH THE REGION? WHAT SPECIFIC 
COUNTRIES, GROUPS, AND INDIVIDUALS DOES IRAN VIEW AS ENABLERS 
IN THE REGION? WHICH COUNTRIES APPEAR TO BE THE FOCUS OF 
IRANIAN EFFORTS TO MAKE POLITICAL, DIPLOMATIC, AND ECONOMIC 
INROADS IN LATIN AMERICA, AND WHERE IS IT PLANNING TO EXPAND? 
WHAT DOMESTIC, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, OR SOCIAL ISSUES MIGHT 
IMPACT ITS OUTREACH TO LATIN AMERICA? 

2) (S/NF) WHO IN TEHRAN IS PUSHING IRAN'S OUTREACH TO LATIN 
AMERICA? IF IT IS AHMADI-NEJAD, WHAT IS THE SUPREME LEADER'S 
OPINION ON IRAN'S EFFORTS TO EXPAND ITS PRESENCE IN THE 
REGION? WHO IN TEHRAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IMPLEMENTING IRAN'S 
LATIN AMERICA POLICY--THE MFA, THE MOIS, THE IRGC? WHO WITHIN 
THESE ORGANIZATIONS IS INVOLVED IN FORMING IRAN'S POLICY ON 
LATIN AMERICA? HOW DO THESE ORGANIZATIONS COORDINATE THEIR 
ACTIVITIES IN THE REGION? 

3) (S/NF) DOES TEHRAN HAVE ANY INTENTION OF USING THE 
REGION AS A STAGING GROUND FOR POTENTIAL TERRORIST ATTACKS, 
EITHER DIRECTLY OR THROUGH SURROGATES? ARE ANY PERSONS 
AFFILIATED WITH THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT MAKING CONTINGENCY 
PREPARATIONS TO CREATE NETWORKS FOR POTENTIAL TERRORIST 
ACTIVITIES LATER? IF SO, WHAT SORT OF ACTIVITIES? 

4) (S/NF) DO TEHRAN AND HIZBALLAH SHARE SIMILAR OBJECTIVES 
IN THE REGION? IN WHAT WAYS DO THEY WORK 
TOGETHER/INDEPENDENTLY? WHAT, IF ANY, ARE IRAN'S INTENTIONS 
AND CAPABILITIES FOR STRENGTHENING HIZBALLAH OBJECTIVES IN 
LATIN AMERICA? 

B. (U) FOR IRAN WATCHERS, IRPO AND LATIN AMERICAN POSTS: 

1) (S/NF) WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF THE MOIS AND IRGC-QODS 
FORCE PRESENCE AND RECRUITMENT IN THE REGION? WHAT HAPPENS TO 
THE POTENTIAL RECRUITS AFTER THEIR TRAINING IN IRAN OR OTHER 
MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES? ARE IRANIAN OFFICIALS ATTEMPTING TO 
ACCESS US TERRITORY OR US PRIVATE FIRMS VIA LATIN AMERICA? DO 
THE IRANIAN CULTURAL CENTERS MAINTAIN CONTACT WITH THE 
CONVERTS? DO IRANIAN DIPLOMATIC OR MILITARY (I.E. IRGC-QODS 
FORCE) OFFICIALS IN THE REGION MAINTAIN ANY CONTACT WITH 
CONVERTS? HOW DOES TEHRAN PROVIDE MONEY TO THE ICCS? 

2) (S/NF) TO WHAT EXTENT ARE IRAN AND ITS LATIN AMERICAN 
ALLIES COOPERATING AGAINST THE U.S.? IN WHAT WAYS HAS IRAN 
BEEN SUCCESSFUL AT FOSTERING GREATER ANTI-AMERICANISM IN THE 
REGION? WHAT KINDS OF COVERT IRANIAN ACTIVITY HAVE BEEN 
IDENTIFIED IN THE REGION? TO WHAT EXTENT DO IRAN AND LATIN 
AMERICA APPEAR TO SHARE INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION? HAS IRAN 
PROVIDED INTELLIGENCE TRAINING WITHIN THE REGION? 

3) (S/NF) IS IRAN SUPPORTING TERRORIST ACTIVITIES IN LATIN 
AMERICA? IS IT RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPPORTING OR TRAINING ILLEGAL 
ARMED GROUPS IN COLOMBIA OR ELSEWHERE? IS IRAN FACILITATING 
LETHAL AID FOR ITS ALLIES OR WORKING TO ESTABLISH NEW 
TERRORIST INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE REGION? 

4) (S/NF) HOW IS IRAN CIRCUMVENTING ECONOMIC SANCTIONS 
THROUGH ITS TIES IN THE REGION? WHAT KINDS OF COMMERCIAL AND 
FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS ARE DEVELOPING BETWEEN IRAN AND THE 
REGION? DO JOINT BUSINESS VENTURES WITH IRAN TURN A PROFIT? 
WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE EXPANDED TRADE RELATIONSHIPS WITH IRAN? 
ARE THESE TRADE AGREEMENTS FOCUSED ON SPECIFIC GOODS OR 
SECTORS? IS THERE ANY INDICATION OF TRADE INCLUDING MATERIALS 
OR TECHNOLOGY WHICH COULD BE USED FOR WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT BY 
IRAN? 

5) (S/NF) HOW SUCCESSFUL HAVE TEHRAN'S EFFORTS TO EXERT 
INFLUENCE IN THE REGION THROUGH CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS 
PROSELYTIZATION BEEN? ARE THERE ANY INDICATIONS THAT THESE 
EFFORTS HAVE EFFECTIVELY FOSTERED EXTREMISM IN LATIN AMERICA? 
WHAT IS THE RELIGIOUS SHIA CONNECTION COUNTRY TO COUNTRY? 

...8) (S/NF) WHAT IS THE STATUS OF IRAN'S EXISTING MILITARY 
AGREEMENTS WITH LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES? WHAT STATE-TO-STATE 
MILITARY AGREEMENTS IS IRAN PURSUING IN LATIN AMERICA? 

9) (S/NF) SPECIFICALLY, REGARDING IRAN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH 
VENEZUELA, WHAT IS THE STATUS OF IRAN'S AGREEMENT WITH 
VENEZUELA TO OVERHAUL VENEZUELAN F-5 AIRCRAFT ENGINES, IRAN'S 
CONTRACT WITH VENEZUELA TO CONSTRUCT MUNITIONS PLANTS, AND 
THE AGREEMENT WITH VENEZUELA TO PROCURE IRANIAN UNMANNED 
AERIAL VEHICLES (UAVS) AND LIGHT IRANIAN AIRCRAFT? WHAT IS 
VENEZUELA'S LEVEL OF SATISFACTION REGARDING THE QUALITY OF 
MILITARY GOODS AND TRAINING IT HAS RECEIVED FROM IRAN? IS 
THERE ANY INFORMATION INDICATING PDVSA PLANES ARE BEING USED 
TO TRANSPORT ARMS FROM TEHRAN TO DAMASCUS AS REPORTED IN OPEN 
SOURCES? IS THERE ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE 
CARACAS-BOUND IRANIAN CARGO SEIZED BY TURKEY? WHO OR WHAT 
ENTITY IN THE VENEZUELAN MILITARY OR CAVIM ORDERED IT AND FOR 
WHAT PURPOSE? ARE TEHRAN AND CARACAS ACTIVELY PURSUING ANY 
FORM OF NUCLEAR COOPERATION? AND IF SO, FOR WHAT PURPOSE? 
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF WEEKLY CONVIASA FLIGHTS BETWEEN CARACAS 
AND TEHRAN? DO WE HAVE ANY INFORMATION THAT THESE ARE BEING 
USED FOR TERRORISM PURPOSES? 

C. (U) FOR LATIN AMERICAN POSTS: 

1) (S/NF) WHAT DO LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES WANT FROM IRAN? 
HOW ARE REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS, ESPECIALLY BUT NOT LIMITED TO 
VENEZUELA, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR, AND NICARAGUA, CATERING TO 
IRANIAN OVERTURES? TO WHAT EXTENT ARE LATIN AMERICAN LEADERS 
CONCERNED ABOUT IRAN'S HISTORIC TIES TO TERRORISM AND THE 
POTENTIAL IMPACT OF CLOSER TIES TO TEHRAN ON THEIR OWN 
INTERNATIONAL STANDING? 

2) (S/NF) WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE IRANIAN 
DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS AND THE HOST GOVERNMENTS IN LATIN 
AMERICA? WHAT SORT OF DIPLOMATIC COOPERATION DO LATIN 
AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS ENVISION WITH IRAN? WHAT ARE THE 
GOVERNMENTS' PERCEPTIONS AND DECISION-MAKING REGARDING GAINS 
VS COSTS/RISKS OF INVOLVEMENT WITH IRANIAN OFFICIALS? WHAT 
LIMITATIONS DO LATIN AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS PLACE ON 
COOPERATION WITH IRAN? HOW MUCH DO REGIONAL, US, OR WORLD 
REACTIONS FACTOR INTO LATIN AMERICAN POLICYMAKING TOWARDS 
IRAN? HOW ARE DISAGREEMENTS WITHIN LATIN AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS 
REGARDING INVOLVEMENT WITH IRAN HANDLED? 

3) (S/NF) WHAT IS THE STATUS OF AGREEMENTS OR BUSINESS 
VENTURES SIGNED BETWEEN IRANIAN ENTITIES AND LATIN AMERICAN 
GOVERNMENTS OR PRIVATE FIRMS? WHAT SORT OF FINANCIAL AID OR 
CASH TRANSFERS IS TEHRAN PROVIDING TO LATIN AMERICAN 
GOVERNMENTS? HOW MUCH AID IS DELIVERED AS OPPOSED TO PROMISED? 

4) (S/NF) TO WHAT EXTENT ARE HOST GOVERNMENTS WILLING TO 
ASSIST THE U.S. AGAINST THE IRANIAN TARGET? 

5) (C/NF) WHAT IS THE SIZE OF THE SHIA MUSLIM COMMUNITY? 
WHICH ARE THE KNOWN HIZBALLAH "CLANS?" 

6) (S/NF) WHAT ARE THE ACTIVITIES AT THE IRANIAN DIPLOMATIC 
MISSIONS, NGOS, AND IRANIAN CULTURAL CENTERS IN LATIN AMERICA 
AND HOW ARE THEY BEING USED TO EXPAND INFLUENCE? WHAT DO 
LATIN AMERICAN CONVERTS TO SHIA ISLAM, OR OTHER STUDENTS OF 
IRANIAN INDOCTRINATION, DO UPON RETURN TO THE REGION FROM 
RELIGIOUS TRAINING IN IRAN? WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN 
IRANIAN EMBASSIES AND CULTURAL CENTERS AND KNOWN HIZBALLAH 
MEMBERS OR SUPPORTERS IN THE REGION? 

7) (S/NF) IN ADDITION TO NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS, HAS IRAN 
ESTABLISHED TIES WITH ANY NONGOVERNMENTAL GROUPS OR 
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES? IF SO, WITH WHICH GROUPS/PEOPLES AND WHAT 
IS THE CURRENT STATE OF IRAN'S RELATIONSHIPS WITH THESE 
GROUPS/PEOPLES? HAS IRAN PROVIDED THESE GROUPS/PEOPLES WITH 
MONEY OR OTHER SUPPORT? HAVE THE IRANIANS ESTABLISHED ANY 
TIES WITH OTHER RADICAL OR TERRORIST GROUPS, LIKE THE FARC? 
ARE IRANIAN OFFICIALS OR THEIR SURROGATES INVOLVED IN OTHER 
ILLICIT ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS NARCOTRAFFICKING? 

2. (U) PLEASE CITE C-AL8-02836 IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF 
REPORTING IN RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE QUESTIONS. 


CLINTON