Die Welt – By C. Wergin und H. Stausberg (English Translation)
Both countries strengthen their relationship – at all levels. A secret agreement also provides for common ground-ground missiles.
Iran wants on Venezuelan soil as a basis for medium-range missiles up and deepen the strategic cooperation with the regime of Hugo Chávez. How “World Online” learned from Western security sources, an agreement between the two countries during the last visit of the Venezuelan president in Tehran on 19 Signed in October. The previously undisclosed contract provides for the establishment of a jointly operated military base in Venezuela and the joint development of ground-ground missiles.
The agreement follows a recommendation of the Supreme Security Council of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei, religious leader a few months ago. According to information of this newspaper, the Security Council had proposed a joint military facility on Venezuelan soil to increase the deterrent power of Iran against the West. The cooperation would be a way for Iran, a strategic base in the South American continent to build – in the backyard of the United States.
After “World Online” Information Venezuela has agreed in the agreement, to allow Iran to establish a military base, which should be manned by Iranian missile officers, soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Venezuelan missile officers. The base is mainly as a storage location for strategic Iranian weapons serve. In addition, Iran has given permission to be allowed in case of emergency missile shoot down of mobile bases. In return, it says in the agreement that Venezuela can use the basis for “national needs”. This would increase the threat to neighbors like Colombia. Iran also pledged to help Venezuela to expertise in rocket technology, such as intensive training of officers.
Also planned is the development of a common ground-to-surface missile, based on the extensive experience of the Iranians. The agreement also provides for Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B missile (285-330 kilometers) and Scud-C missiles (300, 500 and 700 km) on the new base to relocate, and four mobile launchers. be found according to information of “World Online” still has a good location for the base.
Both sides want the end of 2011 but start building the infrastructure of the military establishment. The intensive training of Venezuelan officers to be held in the coming months in Tehran’s Sharif University. There will be notified of the Venezuelan LNG drives rocket engines, navigation systems and on the analysis of missile performance.
Washington is monitoring these developments with growing distrust. When Chavez broke up half a decade for his first visit to Tehran, he was laughed at. Ever since he was nine times there – only three times in the past year and a half. Ahmadinejad visited Venezuela in turn four times officially. Several hundred of cooperation agreements have been signed since then, but 250 in September and another 70 in October. Between the two countries are developed close contacts at all levels, that one can confidently speak of an “axis of Caracas-Tehran.
Chavez has long been one of the main pillars for the Iranian nuclear program. He defended strongly and castigated the international word for sanctions against Iran. In September he gave for the first time publicly that his country had “preliminary studies” undertaken to establish its own nuclear program, which was to serve “exclusively peaceful goals.” The close cooperation with Tehran, he did not deny it. Anyway is against Western intelligence agencies detailed evidence.
However, it came like a bomb, as Roger Noriega early October in the journal “Foreign Policy” some of them summarized in a paper to a wider public. In the paper, “Chávez’s Secret Nuclear Program,” said former Republican Vice-Foreign Minister and current adviser working at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, Chávez for two years on systematically building its own nuclear program.
Basis is the secret agreement signed in November 2008 on scientific and technological cooperation with Tehran. This is helping Iran to circumvent international sanctions and to get uranium. Facts on Empire shows Noriega, as Chávez understands disguise these preparations sent. So it is no secret that Venezuela has in the state of Bolivar, one of the largest uranium deposits in the world. Iran is just now there is active, said in a gold mine. Since then, the air space around the unit is locked widely for civil aviation. In addition, a special unit was stationed there again in February this year, transport helicopters, Mi-17V-5 – equipped with rockets and machine guns.
Control are also deprived of any direct flights between the two countries. You can not book it, takeoffs and landings take place on a military part of the airport Caracas. Is Venezuela for Tehran to become major suppliers of uranium? There are already a jointly operated shipping transport company, will provide Venezuela with the alleged oil to Europe. The complete management of the Venezuelan ports is also in the hands of Cuban security forces as that of the airports. Cuba provided military personnel with Chavez – he trusts his own armed forces since the failed coup attempt no more in 2002.
Recently, the first Venezuelan-Iranian Energy Committee met for the eighth time to discuss an even closer cooperation. Supposedly, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries has reached five billion dollars. Iran has built companies in Venezuela for the production of such diverse products such as milk, bicycles, cement or tractors. However, should the past year have left only six machines, the tractor factory, cement production is a significant neither.
Is this deal to front companies to the sanctions and to launder money? has taken a long time there is a joint Venezuelan-Iranian Bank, chaired the recently retired head of Central Bank Tahmasb Mazaheri. The controversial Iranian Saderat Bank of Iran is active in Venezuela. Noriega notes that the Inter-American Development Bank is concerned with the financial settlement of Iranian businesses in Venezuela – a violation of UN resolutions. This should also be in Berlin set off alarm bells, Germany is finally associate since 1979 Member of the Institute, the largest multilateral donor to Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Venezuelan-Iranian friendship can be the last of arms purchases by Chavez in Russia in a new light. In September, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev halted because of UN sanctions, Tehran agreed with the 2007 sale of S-300 air defense missiles. Shortly after, Chavez said in Moscow that he wanted to buy them now. Venezuela has bought Russian weapons since 2005, worth some five billion dollars, including 24 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter planes, 50 combat helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles.
Last month, Chavez has forced the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA to sell its 50 percent stake in Germany’s Ruhr Oel – to the Russian oil group Rosneft, said to significantly lower price. The proceeds of 1.6 billion dollars Chávez will probably buy new weapons. He has also signed an agreement with Moscow on the construction of a Venezuelan nuclear power plant.
The Americans can not the unholy alliance between Tehran and Caracas indifferent. Iranian missiles at a Venezuelan military base that could meet the medium term, the United States may awaken memories of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
Venezuelan Military Modernization – Arms purchases from 2005-2009
The Venezuelan government has embarked on a massive military modernization and purchases that greatly expand their defensive and offensive capabilities, including negotiations for German submarines and transport aircraft, several agreements with Russia (outlined below), transport aircraft and naval vessels from Spain, radars from China, home-made and designed armored light vehicles and rocket launchers, studies for Russian main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, amongst many others. Most if not all European military hardware have not been delivered to Venezuela due to the U.S. embargo.
Surveillance radars, AK-103s and helicopters: Mi-17, Mi-26 and Mi-35
Venezuela in 2005 acquired 3 JYL-1 long range 3D surveillance radars from China at a cost of $150 million. The 3 JYL-1s, which are truck mounted, were all delivered by 2007.
Also that year, Venezuela bought 51 military helicopters from Russia, by 2008 all 51 had been delivered to the Venezuelan armed forces, the helicopters acquired were: 40 Mi-17, 3 Mi-26 and 8 Mi-35. Then in 2006 the country purchased 100,000 Russian AK-103 assault rifles , all delivered in that same year. Chavez also claimed to have acquired a license to manufacture Kalashnikovs in Venezuela, but the factory hasn’t yet been built.
Su-30s and missiles
In 2006 Venezuela purchased 24 Su-30MK jet fighters also from Russia, all delivered by 2008. In order to equip those fighters the country bought a large assortment of missiles, it is estimated that Venezuela acquired: 200 laser guided bombs types KAB-500 and KAB-1500, 50 Kh-29 air-to-surface missiles, 50 Kh-31A1 anti-ship missiles, 50 Kh-59ME TV-guided cruise missiles, 100 Vympel R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles and 150 Vympel R-73 short-range air-to-air missiles.
Night vision equipment, sniper rifles and submarines
In 2007, the Belarussian military optics industry agreed to supply the Venezuelan army with night vision devices, and install on, as Hugo Chavez described, “every single rifle in the Venezuelan army.” The deal is valued at $3–$24 million. Later that year, Chavez announced plans to purchase of 5,000 Dragunov sniper rifles from the Russian Rosoboronexport, adding that Venezuela must ready itself for a “possible U.S. invasion.” It is not clear whether that deal was completed. In all, from 2005 to 2007 Venezuela purchased more than $4.4 billion in weapons from Russia.
After signing an “initial contract”, Venezuela was expected in June 2007 to finalize the acquisition of five diesel Project 636 Kilo class submarines, and at a later date finalize the acquisition of four diesel Project 677 Amur class submarines. In spite of the expectations, Chavez didn’t sign the deal. Ten months later in April 2008, Venezuela decided to negotiate with Russia a loan of about $800 million for the acquisition of 4 diesel Project 636 Kilo class submarines. During that time Venezuela was also considering the purchase of 12 Il-76 transport aircraft. The submarines plus the aircraft were going to cost a total of $1.5 billion. However, this acquisition deal wasn’t completed either. The negotiations for the purchase of the submarines broke down and 6 submarines that were once planned for Venezuela are now being offered to Vietnam.
Russian loans and the Chinese K-8W light jet
In September 2008, Russia provided Venezuela with a $1 billion loan to buy Russian weapons. A Kremlin source said “The Russian side has made the decision to extend to Venezuela a $1 billion loan for a military cooperation program.” There is a lot of speculation about which weapons will be bought with that loan. Venezuela has shown interest on the following weapons: TOR-M1 SAM systems, T-72 tanks, Su-35 jet fighters and Il-76 military cargo aircraft. Despite of the interest and the Russian credit line, no deal has been finalized. In October 2008 Rosoboronexport informed that Venezuela was close to buying among other things a “large shipment of BMP-3” infantry fighting vehicles, however that deal too wasn’t finalized.
Also in September Chavez confirmed that Venezuela purchased 24 K-8 Karakorum trainer jets from China. The deal, which is estimated to be worth between $72–$84 million, was the biggest Venezuelan arms deal of 2008.
On the 21 of July 2010, one Chinese K-8 light jet went down. Pilot and assistant ejected.
Venezuela has acquired an undisclosed number of SA-24 Igla-S man-portable surface to air missiles. The SA-24 Igla-S is the most advanced version built in Russia. This acquisition was only confirmed after 50 SA-24 Igla-S were paraded by soldiers in Caracas in April 2009. In reaction to the acquisition the US State Department declared: “We are concerned about Venezuelan arms purchases that exceed its needs and are therefore potentially destabilizing“.
In September 2009 Russia agreed to loan Venezuela over $2 billion to finance the purchase of weapons including tanks and advanced anti-aircraft missiles. It was stated that because of lower crude prices, the country needed to borrow the money for defence spending to avoid cuts in education and health. The deal includes orders for 92 T-72 tanks and the Buk-M2, S-125 Neva/Pechora missile system and S-300 air-defence systems and also the BM-30 Smerch rocket artillery system.
President Hugo Chavez stated that “Venezuela has no plans to invade anybody, or to be aggressive towards anybody,” and “with these rockets it’s going to be very difficult for foreign planes to come and bomb us”. Chavez repeated Venezuela’s commitment to developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes with the help of Russia and reiterated his strong opposition to nuclear weapons.
Controversy with the United States
These acquisitions and other projects have been greeted with criticism from the United States, which opposes the government of President Hugo Chávez. The U.S. accuses Venezuela of starting an arms race, which they claim will destabilize the military equilibrium in South America. Venezuela is also accused of supplying small arms to neighboring Colombian guerrilla organizations including FARC, which is sympathetic to Chávez.
United States criticism is met with skepticism by Venezuelan authorities, who claim the weapons are needed to update the basic equipment in the armed forces. In some cases, Venezuelan armaments like the FN FAL have been in service more than 50 years. The government also claims that the U.S. has been the one to initiate arms races and de-stabilize countries by supplying subversive groups in Latin America throughout the past century (referring to the Cold War and the contra affair, among numerous other incidents).
In the 1990s Venezuela requested a batch of F-16C/Ds to update its F-16 fighter fleet, but the U.S. government blocked the request. In October 1997 the U.S. government approved the sale of the two crash replacement F-16s, but subsequently halted the sale. In 2005 a contract with Israel Aircraft Industries to upgrade Venezuela’s F-16s was frozen following U.S. pressure. Chavez subsequently accused the U.S. of delaying the sale of spare parts to maintain Venezuela’s F-16s. After remarks by Chavez that he would sell or lend the ‘unused’ F-16’s to any country that wanted them, including Iran, the U.S. Government agreed to supply the spare parts; however, the shipment was detained at the Customs Office in Maiquetia International Airport due to security concerns.
Russia has agreed to sell more than $4 billion (£2 billion) worth of armaments to Venezuela since 2005 and disclosed that Mr Chávez wanted new antiaircraft systems and more fighter jets.
U.S. military embargo
The government of the United States announced an embargo of military material and equipments to Venezuela; no United States made weapons or technology can be sold to Venezuela by any country or company. This embargo has harmed several Venezuelan purchases, as not only are U.S. technology goods unavailable, but other nations friendly to the U.S. have been pressured to block sales of arms to Venezuela, as well. This is also considered one of the reasons Venezuela has turned to Russia and China for arms, in a move reminiscent of the Cold War.
In 2005 Venezuela signed agreements with Spain to procure 12 naval transport and reconnaissance aircraft and eight naval patrol vessels. The deal is worth $1.5-2 billion dollars to the Spanish defense industry, as well as an estimated 900 new jobs, but was cancelled due to the U.S. embargo. The cancellation does not affect the eight naval patrol vessels.
Below is a list of acquisitions frustrated directly or indirectly by the U.S. embargo:
- Aero L-159 Alca Jets from the Czech Republic: the Czech government forbade Aero Vodochody, the manufacturer, from creating a variant with French avionics and Ukrainian engines, specially requested by Venezuela.
- Saab AB, a Swedish arms company announced it would honor the U.S. embargo, and would not sell arms to Venezuela. Carl Gustav recoilless rifles, AT4 AT weapons, as well as RBS-70 AA systems are in service in the Venezuelan military.
- Spanish company EADS CASA halted the sale of several transport planes that contained extensive U.S. technology.
- Brazil was forced to cancel the sale of Embraer Super Tucano airplanes to the Venezuelan Air Force due to its use of Pratt & Whitney engines. Embraer was also forced to cancel the sale of AEW&C equipped planes.
- France decided to block the sale of Scorpene submarines to Venezuela.
- Russian companies Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi have been sanctioned by the U.S. government for procuring arms for Venezuela.
Volaren Venezuela (English Translation)
About 10 million people, Venezuelan and other South American countries will benefit from the route from Caracas to Tehran, according to the president of the Venezuelan airline Conviasa, Franklin Martinez, who also added that the number of users can be seen in the next 2 months.
The agreement between Conviasa and Iran Air for the opening of the Tehran-Caracas route comes within the framework of the relations of brotherhood and solidarity between Iran and Venezuela, countries which cooperated hard for the establishment of new air service, according to the review of ABN.
Martinez said the flights will start operating the route with a Boeing 747 aircraft with capacity for 287 passengers. The aircraft will arrive in Caracas on Friday and depart Saturday return.
Martinez also said that much more than just a trade route, is inaugurating a cultural gateway of the peoples of the Middle East, especially those from countries like Iran and Syria.
“This will become a platform to welcome those who come to the Middle East, people who find the entrance to this continent as a difficult process, especially in other countries, the lack of understanding of their cultures and how has been negatively stereotyped. “Martínez explained.
Air Iranian President Mahmoud Shekarabi, explained that this flight will not only benefit the Iranian people want to travel to Latin America, but those wishing to fly from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and other peoples of Asia and the Middle East.
Source: El Universal