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December 10th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Israel’s defense minister on Monday accused Iran of using its diplomatic personnel and embassies to create ‘terrorist bases’ in Nicaragua and other Latin American countries, and transferring guns and bombs through diplomatic mail pouches, without providing evidence for the claims.
“The Iranians use diplomatic mail [pouches] in order to transport bombs and weapons, and we know that there are states in South America, like Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, where the Iranians have terror bases, both in the embassies and among the local Shi’ite Muslim populations.
Wherever there are Iranian embassies, they also serve as bases for espionage and terrorism,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement after meeting with visiting Guatemalan President Otto Perez.
Ya’alon believes these bases can be used to attack Jewish or Israeli interests in the region, or to stage attacks inside of the U.S. similar to the foiled 2011 attack on a Saudi ambassador in Washington, DC.
“They are taking advantage of the drug smuggling routes from South America into the United States in order to move weapons there,” he said.
“[The Iranians] are building a terror infrastructure in South America to attack Jews and Israeli interests,” he said, “but they are also using these bases that they have built in places like Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela to act against the United States,” he said.
This is not the first time reports from Israel have claimed the presence of terrorist camps in Nicaragua. Israeli media reports in September 2012 claimed that Lebanon’s Hezbollah was training terrorists in a secret location in northern Nicaragua, near the Honduran border.
“Approximately 30 members of the terrorist organization reside inside the area, which is closed to locals,” the Times of Israel reported at the time.
Israeli and Argentine authorities have also long suspected Iranian involvement in the bombings of a Jewish centre and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in the 1990s that killed scores of people, charges denied by Iran.
AFP contributed to this report.