Reports are emerging this week that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has finalized a strategic agreement with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that will provide for the construction of a joint Iranian-Venezuelan military base on Venezuelan soil. According to Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, a small group of leading engineers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s construction company, Khatam al-Anbia, have decided on the Paraguana Peninsula as the location for the building of planned medium-range missile launch pads.
The report indicates that Iran’s Air Force head, Amir al-Hadschisadeh, visited the site in February to finalize building plans and that experts from the chemical plant departments of Tehran Polytechnic and the Sharif University in Tehran who were included in the planning and design phase joined him.
Israel’s Jerusalem Post adds:
The Iranian military involvement in the project extends to bunker, barracks and watch tower construction. Twenty-meter deep rocket silos are planned. The cost of the Venezuelan military project is being paid for with Iranian oil revenue. The Iranians paid in cash for the preliminary phase of the project and, the total cost is expected to amount to “dozens of millions” of dollars.
The project appears to have originated during a Chavez visit to Tehran in October, 2010, where it is reported the two countries agreed on a tentative plan for a jointly operated military base in Venezuela. The signing of that agreement went down around the same time NATO was holding its Lisbon Summit to hash out a missile defense strategy that would protect NATO-allied European populations from the threat of Iranian missile attacks.
The proposed Venezuelan site, should it materialize, would allow the Chavez government to attack American cities and important US partners like Columbia on behalf of Iran should the Islamic regime ever face Western military action. Additionally, the site may be used as part of Venezuela’s suspected attempts to circumvent the United Nation’s monitoring of Iranian weapons trading. In November, the Iranian ally agreed to purchase a number of S-300 missile systems from Russia that were originally part of an $800 Million-dollar air defense package Moscow had signed with Iran but were forced to cancel because of UN sanctions.