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ICAIE Issues New Report on How Iran’s Threat and Illicit Networks Finance Chaos and Malign Influence to Destabilize U.S. Interests in the Americas and Globally

Iran will continue to leverage multiple strategic lines of effort in the Americas, aided by a broad network of criminal and terrorist allies and proxies, including sanctions evasion, acquiring funds through multiple illicit economic activities, successful and unsuccessful terrorist attacks, and the deployment of massive mis- and disinformation campaign structures and a spectrum of threats that affect U.S. national security.

Today, the International Coalition Against Illicit Economies (ICAIE), a national security non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C., released a new report entitled, "How Iran’s Threat and Illicit Networks Finance Chaos and Malign Influence to Destabilize U.S. Interests in the Americas and Globally", co-authored by Douglas Farah and David M. Luna. The New ICAIE policy brief highlights how as Iran is expanding its global security footprint, it poses an existential threat to not only peace and security in the Middle East but also to strategic American national security interests in Latin America. “Iran, through its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), is undertaking subversive active measures through its embassies, terrorist proxies, and criminal networks in the Americas to destabilize democracies and exert political influence, penetrate markets, and increase sway with corrupt ruling elites,” said David Luna, ICAIE’s Executive Director.  

Similar to its modus operandi in the Middle East of using proxies to advance its geo-security interests and have plausible deniability, Iran leverages proxy power forces in Latin America by “exploiting existing regional weaknesses—such as organized crime networks—to provide Iran with the ‘cover’ needed to pursue its strategic policy in the Americas.” The Iran-financed chaos and malign influence in the Americas also has a geopolitical ripple effect globally, that impacts U.S. national security in other corners of the world.

In a vulnerable region where Latin authoritarian regimes increasingly rely on repression, censorship, corruption, and alliances with transnational criminal forces, the deepening partnerships with China, Iran, and Russia accelerate democratic backsliding, economic stagnation, instability, and collapse of the rule of law. Iran’s threat and illicit networks today have advanced an array of malign influence and political interference activities in the Americas intended to harm the United States through multiple military, intelligence, security, diplomatic, and criminal operations.

Over the past two decades, Iran and its allies have worked aggressively to expand their activities and influence operations around Latin America. These activities have come under increasing scrutiny since Iran’s support for Islamic militants became a topic of recent international debate, following the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7, 2023.

ICAIE’s report underscores the need to view Iran’s activities in the Western Hemisphere through a strategic prism of asymmetrical warfare and gray zones. This includes Iran’s alliance of convenience with foreign malign influence networks with other extra-regional state actors such as China and Russia. The Iranian collaboration with the Bolivarian Alliance and Bolivarian Joint Criminal Enterprise (BJCE) gives Iran more freedom of movement and leverage access in the region and allies with Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and other countries to export their malign influence, intelligence operations, criminal activities, and threat convergence strategies that are often coordinated with China and Russia.

ICAIE brings together diverse champions across sectors and communities, including governments and prominent organizations from the private sector and civil society to mobilize energies to combat cross-border illicit threats that endanger U.S. national security, global supply chains, and peace.

Find ICAIE's New Report on Iranian Threat Networks in the Americas here.

Contact Information:
David Luna
Executive Director
[email protected]

Original Source: ICAIE Issues New Report on How Iran’s Threat and Illicit Networks Finance Chaos and Malign Influence to Destabilize U.S. Interests in the Americas and Globally
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