Duncan Releases Statement on the State Department’s Report on Iranian Activity and Influence in the Western Hemisphere

Jun 27, 2013 Issues: Foreign Affairs

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, the State Department released a report to Congress with its assessment of the threat from Iran and its strategy to counter Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere.  This report was required by Congressman Jeff Duncan’s legislation, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, which Congress passed and the president signed into Public Law 112-220 in December 2012. 

The law states that the policy of the U.S. is to use a comprehensive strategy to counter Iran’s hostile presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere.  Its intent was for the State Department to work together with U.S. allies and partners in the Western Hemisphere to address the issue of Iran’s operations in our hemisphere together.

“After speaking with Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobson this morning, I am disappointed that the State Department did not reach out to even one country in the Western Hemisphere in the crafting of the threat assessment and strategy. It makes no sense for the State Department to send a report to Congress without considering the views of our allies in the region. After all, Iran continues to attempt to exploit the refugee system in Canada and its October 2011 foiled assassination plot on American soil involved Iranians seeking to work with Mexican drug cartels.”

“Even more concerning is that the State Department refused to consider new evidence in its crafting of the threat assessment and strategy.  When the General Prosecutor of the AMIA bombings in Argentina, Alberto Nisman, released a scathing 502-page report in May 2013 documenting Iran’s terrorism activities and operations in the Western Hemisphere, the State Department failed to consider that information.”

“The unclassified annex to the report delivered to Congress today found ‘Iranian influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is waning.’  This directly contradicts the findings from Mr. Nisman’s three-year investigation, which showed clear infiltration of the Iranian regime within countries in Latin America using embassies, mosques, and cultural centers.”

“Based on my initial discussion with the State Department and my review of the unclassified version, I question the methodology that was used in developing this report and find it irresponsible that the department did not consider all the facts.  I intend to thoroughly examine the contents of the classified report, but I believe that the Administration has failed to consider the seriousness of Iran’s presence here at home.”

“I look forward to examining the threat to the U.S. homeland from Iran’s extending influence in the Western Hemisphere in my capacity as Chairman of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee on July 9, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.”

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Attached is the UNCLASSIFIED version of the report