"They’ve been saying they were going to do it, and now they’re on the way. A pair of Iranian navy ships, the frigate Sabalan and supply ship Kharg, left Bandar Abbas [on Tuesday] morning headed for the Atlantic Ocean.
It has been inevitable that the Iranian navy would make good on its promise to deploy to the Atlantic. Its ships made a voyage to China in 2013, and have been conducting extended patrols in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea since late 2008. An Atlantic expedition has been by no means beyond Iran’s capabilities for some time now.
....But it’s a measure of Iran’s seriousness about her geopolitical plans. And she has other ways of reaching into the Western hemisphere, from her patronage of Hezbollah, which is all over Latin America, to her joint project with Venezuela to put a missile site off the coast of Maracaibo.
A senior Iranian official, who was recently appointed to one of the highest consultative positions with the Iranian government, was the man responsible for approving the 1994 attack on the Jewish center in Buenos Aires in which 85 people were killed. Nothing has changed in Iran’s radical posture; sending warships to the Western hemisphere is not a way of trying to be more like the status-quo powers, but is rather a way of showing what a radical, Shia Islamist power can do.
.... [I]f sanctions had not just been loosened on Iran, she wouldn’t have the wherewithal to make this naval expedition to visit her radical pals in Central America."Read the entire article, with map, here; also here
There's speculation in some quarters (hat tip: LBD) that the supply ship Kharg, which has in the past carried supplies to Sudan and Syria (thought to be Iranian-manufactured materiel), and which, being a naval ship cannot be intercepted on the high seas as arms-laden civilian vessels can, may be bound for Venezuela, where Iran has a drone facility.
It was reported in 2010 that, according to Western intelligence sources,
'Iran is planning to place medium-range missiles on Venezuelan soil, based on western information sources ...[A]n agreement between the two countries was signed during the last visit of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Tehran on October19, 2010. The previously undisclosed contract provides for the establishment of a jointly operated military base in Venezuela, and the joint development of ground-to-ground missiles....
....Venezuela has agreed to allow Iran to establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers, soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Venezuelan missile officers. In addition, Iran has given permission for the missiles to be used in case of an "emergency". In return, the agreement states that Venezuela can use these facilities for "national needs" – radically increasing the threat to neighbors like Colombia....
....Venezuela has also become the country through which Iran intends to bypass UN sanctions.... According to a study recently released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, Iran is presently aiming to perfect the already existing solid-fuel, medium-range missile that can carry a nuke to hit regional targets, such as Israel. If a missile base can be opened in Venezuela, many US cities will be able to be reached from there even with short-medium range missiles....
....Iran is soon going to have a nuclear weapon, and there are no signs that UN sanctions will in any way deter the Ayatollah's regime from completing its nuclear program. We know that Iran already has missiles that can carry an atomic warhead over Israel and over the Arabian Peninsula. Now we learn that Iran is planning to build a missile base close to the US borders. How longer do we have to wait before the Obama administration begins to understand threats?'How long, indeed?