Iranian-backed terror groups expanding reach in South America, warns general

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Iran’s recent diplomatic push into South America could help Hamas and Hezbollah expand their foothold in the region. Iran “sees an opportunity” in South America, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting the region six times over the past six years, according to Fraser. Tehran has expanded its network of embassies and cultural centers in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua during that time, he added.

Iran’s increased engagement with its South American allies is one way Tehran can get around the raft of economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies, the four-star commander said. 

As Iran grows its official presence in the region, there could be a “natural coming together” of that effort and those led by radical Islamist groups, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) warned.