Date: May 10, 2021
Contact: Benjamin Weil
Director of the Project for Israel’s National Security
PRESS RELEASE: EMET APPLAUDS SENATOR MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TENN.) AND SENATOR JACKY ROSEN (D-NEV.) FOR INTRODUCING LEGISLATION TO COMBAT HIZBALLAH IN LATIN AMERICA
(Washington, D.C., May 10, 2021) Today, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) introduced the Hizballah in Latin American Accountability Act of 2021. The bill is aimed to restrict the influence and illegal footprint in Latin America of Hizballah, an Iranian proxy. It would require reporting on the group’s illicit activities in Latin America and the Caribbean and opens the door for imposing sanctions on persons affiliated with Hizballah.
EMET has been raising awareness of the threats Iran poses to American national security by using Latin America as its backyard to engage in weapons transfer, money laundering for terrorist organizations and other terrorist activities. EMET has discussed with hundreds of congressional offices the Iranian intention to station long-term and intercontinental ballistic missiles in Latin America. If stationed in Caracas, Venezuela, they have the potential to reach the entire East Coast of the United States as well as large portions of the Midwest. This would put large American metropolises, such as New York, Washington D.C. and Miami, in Iran’s reach.
Iran mainly operates in Latin America through a special unit in the IRGC and in Hizballah. This bill will help curb the Iranian influence in Latin America and should prevent a Cuban Missile Crisis 2.0. It will also make it hard for Hizballah to fundraise money for their terrorist activities. In turn, this would bring more stability to the Middle East and support the security of our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel.
Says EMET Founder and President, Sarah Stern, “For decades now, we have seen how Hizbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have successfully created a land bridge across the Middle East from Tehran through Baghdad to Damascus and, most essentially, on Israel’s northern border from Beirut to Southern Lebanon.
“The Iranian proxy buildup since the last war that Israel was forced to fight in Lebanon in 2006 has been so formidable that they now have approximately 130,000 to 150,000 missiles on Israel’s northern border. They are in the process of converting these missiles to precision-guided munitions that they may use to swarm Israel’s radar defense systems and directly attack critical points of Israel’s infrastructure. We know that Iran would love nothing more than to replicate that model, right under our noses, in the Western hemisphere, in our soft underbelly of Latin America.
“We also have been watching as certain regimes, such as the Maduro regime of Venezuela, have united with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hizballah. The glue that cements these unhealthy relationships is their resentment and antipathy towards the United States. These alliances can potentially create a clear and present danger to the national security interests and welfare of the people of the United States.
EMET wishes to express our sincere gratitude toward Senators Marsha Blackburn and Jacky Rosen for this extremely important bipartisan legislation and encourage all legislators to sign onto it.”
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