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Iranian weapons, fighters Support the Maduro government in Venezuela, USA



WASHINGTON – Iran has sent weapons and sent paramilitary operatives to help Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro retain power, the top US military commander for Central and South America said on Wednesday.

“We see growing Iranian influence there,” he said. Craig Faller, head of the US Southern Command, citing the “alarming and disturbing” presence of military personnel from the Quds elite forces of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Tehran is using force to support Syrian President Bashar Assad and other foreign allies and proxies.

Iran’s and Venezuela’s missions to the United Nations did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Iran is the only American adversary to support the captured Venezuelan leader. Thousands of Cubans “mostly own”

; the country’s intelligence and security forces, which protect Mr Maduro, the adm. Faler. Hundreds of Russians have also contributed to supporting “keeping key elements of Maduro’s army ready enough,” he added.

Admiral Faller’s comments on Iran come amid growing tensions between Washington and Tehran and represent a rare case in which a senior US military official has publicly accused Iran of supplying weapons to Venezuela.


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