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  • Congress Shines Light on Chavez’s Iran Connections

    On June 24, a Joint House Committee hearing on Venezuela’s Sanctionable Activities made a concerted effort to shed light on President Hugo Chavez’s dangerous ties to Iran. Representative Connie Mack (R–FL) and others expressed a deep-seated concern that the sanctions recently placed on the government-controlled oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), were insufficient.

    In May 2010, the Obama Administration placed sanctions on PDVSA for providing at least two shipments of petroleum additives to Iran, a country that is currently sanctioned for its nuclear weapons program and, according to the State Department, is the “most active state sponsor of terrorism.” The sanctions prohibit PDVSA from competing for U.S. procurement contracts, securing financing from the Import-Export Bank of the U.S., or obtaining a U.S. export license.

    The hearing highlighted the fact that despite recent sanctions, the U.S. continues to rely on Venezuela for as much as 10 percent of its oil imports. Mack estimated that the U.S. pays PDVSA $117 million per day, and he was skeptical that the Administration will do little more than give Chavez a light rap on the knuckles.

    State and Treasury Department officials argued that no new prohibited shipments to Iran had been detected and that it was too soon to tell what the impact of sanctions will be. Kevin Whitaker of the State Department urged Venezuela to “pursue a path of cooperation and responsibility rather than further isolation.” Administration officials emphasized that no options for additional sanctioning are currently on the table.

    From the hearing, it is once again clear that Chavez is loyal to Iran; expanding economic ties; more circumspect in his ties with terrorists; anxious to cloak the seamy, criminal side of his government; and doing a better job of concealing flights between Caracas and Iran and Syria. Although Congressman Mack and others argue vigorously, putting Chavez and Venezuela where they belong—on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list—still commands little support with the White House or State Department.

    Co-authored with Olivia Snow, a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm


    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Congress Shines Light on Chavez’s Iran Connections

    1. Quinterius says:

      Mr. Walser and Ms. Snow repeat the standard stories about Iran and Venezuela without any concern for the truth. Did they even bother confirming the truth of their statements? So, what are "President Hugo Chavez’s dangerous ties to Iran?" Oh, Venezuela may have sent petroleum or "petroleum additives" to Iran. What horrors? Do they even know that Iran is now self-sufficient in gasoline production and is now even exporting gasoline to its neighbors (Iraq, Afghanistan and Armenia)? Apparently, Congress does not know anything about this situation either.

      The continued Administration policy of imposing sanctions on Iran is almost laughable in its futility and lack of any legal or logical justification. The original sanctions were supposedly imposed because Iran was "developing nuclear weapons." Now that the US 2011 NIE has stated unequivocally that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, what is the justification for this continued charade? Maybe Congress has its own intelligence agency that disagrees with the 16 US intelligence organizations that issued the NIE. Then, perhaps, the authors can publish the results of this secret intelligence agency's findings unless it is so secret that no one has seen it or it simply does not exist.

    2. Bobbie says:

      One of a few perfect pictures of the worlds uglies. The world can stand alone and the people can live together, free from the inhumane, perverted leaderships of the day! America proved it!

      NO ONE WORLD DICTATORSHIP required! this is the 21st century!!!!! We're human life and civil law (non discriminative, non racist, non faith based) will maintain livelihoods in peace and freedom! Leaderships beneath humanity is ROT in the 21st century.

    3. Bobbie says:

      oops! correction, civil law may be faith based form those who respect all human life, but it isn't religion based.

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