US plays down Iranian threat in Latin America

WASHINGTON — A senior US military commander said on Tuesday that though Iran was making diplomatic and commercial inroads in Latin America, there is no evidence Tehran is establishing a military presence in the region.
The remarks by Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of US Southern Command, come after the Pentagon warned in a 12-page report on Iran that there was an "increased presence" in Latin America by Teheran's elite military Quds Force.
Fraser told reporters on Tuesday that the US had seen a "growing Iranian interest in Venezuela," another oil-rich state critical of the US, but that its presence was primarily through an increase in Iranian embassies and commercial contracts.
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