Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a tour of South America in Venezuela on Sunday. In the face of new American and European sanctions against Iran, Ahmadinejad is keen to bolster support for Iran, beginning with his ally Hugo Chavez.
As the visit commences it has revitalized talk regarding a possible link between the two countries which has often been raised yet never been proven: namely that Iran is "building intermediate-range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula." The Jerusalem Post
reported in May 2011 that a clandestine agreement between the two nations "would mean the Chavez government would fire rocket at Iran's enemies should the Islamic Republic face military strikes." It's source was the German newspaper Die Welt.
The article from the JP resurfaced earlier this week on the American Thinker
, speculating that Iran is planning to build a missile base close to the U.S. border. In 2011 Venezuela strenuously denied the suggestion that it was helping Iran to develop nuclear weapons, ntn 24
According to Business Insider
the original Die Welt story was dismissed by CNN journalists in May 2011 when they reported "that both the U.S. and Venezuela said there was no evidence of the missile base's existence."
Hugo Chavez does support Iran's decision to develop its nuclear program, and Iran makes substantial capital investments in the South American country.
According to Robert M. Morgenthau writing in the Wall St Journal
in 2009, the two leaders declared an "axis of unity" when Chavez visited Tehran in 2006. Morgenthhau disclosed that Iran was able to work its way around economic sanctions with the co-operation of the Venezuelan banking system.
Those who give credence to the original Die Welt story that Iran is developing bases in conjunction with Venezuela, close to the U.S. border, will support the opinion that imminent action should be taken against Iran before its nuclear capabilities are further developed. However, there is no concrete evidence that the account is more than speculation. A word from the White House would be useful at this point to add clarity to the situation.