By Duncan Smith
For some reason, the whacked-out mullahs who run Iran didn’t get President Trump’s very loud, very clear message earlier this year when he ordered the leader of Iran’s paramilitary Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, blown to bits in Iraq.
On his way to meet with the Iraqi prime minister, Soleimani was targeted as he sat in a vehicle near the Baghdad International Airport Jan. 3.
After the strike, President Trump and members of his administration made it clear they targeted him because he was responsible for the deaths of American service personnel over the years, and he was planning new strikes.
So Trump reached out and touched him. Boom. Game over.
That would seem like a pretty clear message to rational leaders of Iran, but Iran isn’t government by rational men.
Now, it seems, the mullahs want to provide another regional nemesis, Venezuela, with some long-range ballistic missiles that would put the United States in range.
And the Trump administration isn’t having it.
“The transfer of long-range missiles from Iran to Venezuela is not acceptable to the United States and will not be tolerated or permitted,” said Elliott Abrams, the State Department Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela, Fox News reported.
“We will make every effort to stop shipments of long-range missiles, and if somehow they get to Venezuela they will be eliminated there,” added a senior administration official.
“Iran has announced its intention to engage in arms sales, and Venezuela is an obvious target because those two pariah regimes already have a relationship,” said Abrams. “Venezuela is paying in gold to buy gasoline from Iran, and there is an Iranian presence in the country. Venezuela's economy has collapsed, so every bar of gold for Iran is tens of thousands of dollars the Venezuelan people need for food and medicine.”
“Iran has shipped missiles to the Houthis, so we know they are ready, willing, and able to ship them to Venezuela and other possible buyers,” said the administration official. “Every delivery of Iranian arms destabilizes South America and the Caribbean, and is especially dangerous to Venezuela's neighbors in Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana.”
'Missiles and terrorism are key components of Iranian security policy. Iran has already spread Lebanese Hezbollah, its chief proxy, throughout South America,' said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 'Potential Iranian missile or military shipments to South America will constitute a major test of the administration’s arms embargo on Iran. Russia and China will be watching closely to see how Washington responds.'
A word of advice to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro: Don’t waste what little money your country has left after your socialist ‘leadership’ on missiles you won’t have around for very long.
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