Israel: Venezuela, Bolivia supply Iran with uranium

Venezuela and Bolivia are supplying Iran with uranium for its nuclear program, according to a secret Israeli government report obtained May 25 by the AP. “There are reports that Venezuela supplies Iran with uranium for its nuclear program,” the Foreign Ministry document states, referring to previous Israeli intelligence conclusions. It added, “Bolivia also supplies uranium to Iran.”

The report concludes that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is trying to undermine the United States by supporting Iran. Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador during Israel’s offensive in Gaza this year, and Israel retaliated by expelling the Venezuelan envoy. Bolivia cut ties with Israel over the offensive. There was no immediate comment from officials in Venezuela or Bolivia on the report’s claims.

The three-page document about Iranian activities in Latin America was prepared in advance of a visit to South America by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who will attend a conference of the Organization of American States in Honduras next week. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is also scheduled to visit the region.

The Israeli report did not say where the uranium that it alleged the two countries are supplying originated from. Bolivia has uranium deposits. Venezuela is not currently mining its own estimated 50,000 tons of uranium reserves, according to an analysis published in December by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The Carnegie report said, however, that recent collaboration with Iran in strategic minerals has generated speculation that Venezuela could mine uranium for Iran.

The Israeli report also charges that Lebanon’s Hezbollah has established cells in Latin America, and that Venezuela has issued permits allowing Iranian residents to travel freely in the region. The report concludes, “Since Ahmadinejad’s rise to power, Tehran has been promoting an aggressive policy aimed at bolstering its ties with Latin American countries with the declared goal of ‘bringing America to its knees.'”

The document says Venezuela and Bolivia are violating the UN Security Council’s economic sanctions with their aid to Iran. It also states that Ahmadinejad and Chávez have set up a $200 billion fund aimed at garnering the support of more South American countries for the cause of “liberation from the American imperialism,” according to the report. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor refused to comment about the report.

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