Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran Deepens Political, Religious Split in South America | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants hold flags as they walk towards the cemetery where their fellow fighters were buried during a ceremony conducted one day after Hezbollah’s Martyr’s Day, in the Beirut’s suburbs, November 12, 2010. (REUTERS/Jamal Saidi)

Lima- Peruvian media outlets were lately busy with Iran’s political and religious activities in Peru, particularly following a decision taken by some nationals to converted to Shi’ism and establish a political entity in the country under the name of “Hezbollah” similar to the so-called Lebanese Hezbollah.

The Peruvian young men who were captured by Iran years ago, had been trained in Tehran in the past years, to return home and criticize their country’s policies, in an attempt to apply the Iranian regime model and export the Iranian Revolution.

Few weeks ago, a Peruvian news agency broadcasted a report about a group of Peruvians led by an Argentinian Shiite Sheikh called “Sheikh Pohl.”

The report said the young Peruvians came mostly from the mountainous region of Abancay, where Iran has lately exerted efforts and convinced 20 young Peruvians to visit Tehran and receive training on Islamic Shi’ism ahead of being resent home for advocacy.

However, what is new in the report is the fact that this group has effectively started establishing a political party in the country under the name of “Hezbollah Branch in Peru,” driving ire concerning the role Iran plays in the country and the reasons behind its political and religious presence in Peru.

Peruvian media outlets lately spoke about the danger of the presence of groups similar to the so-called Hezbollah on the Peruvian territories, for carrying terrorist ideologies and suspected activities that Iran might use to spread the Shi’ite sect and extend the ideology of the Iranian Revolution.

The Peruvian Latina news agency had aired a report last month on its television program Punto Final, showing a group of young Peruvians led by a Shi’ite Sheikh standing next to photos of Iranian Shi’ite leaders, and calling for Islamic Shi’ism and Tehran’s rights to spread its sect, similar to Christianity.

The young Peruvians said they had the right to travel to Tehran and be trained by Iranian members to spread the Shi’ite sect when they return home.

Lately, Peru had arrested suspects linked to the so-called Hezbollah Lebanese party, while trying to enter the country to execute suspected operations.

Joseph Humire, an expert on the Iranian influence in Latin America said Iran was lately exerting efforts to infiltrate in South America and spread the Shi’ite sect and anti-U.S. slogans. In addition, Humire said Iran was also facilitating money laundering and smuggling to later execute terrorist operations.

According to Latin media outlets, Iran, with the help of Venezuela, has lately worked on establishing branches of the so-called Lebanese Hezbollah in several Latin countries, including Venezuela, a matter, which drove fears in several states that the activities of these groups turn to violent acts for the execution of operations similar to the ones conducted by the Lebanese party.