Iran has helped Venezuela augment its arsenal of weapons through the use of an airline sanctioned by the United States for delivering weapons to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. According to Columbia’s centrist or left-center media outlet Semana, the Maduro regime in Venezuela has acquired missiles, bombs, radars, and air defense systems from Iran. The article reports that between 12 and 17 flights of Iran’s sanctioned Mahan Air purportedly transported these weapons in the cargo holds of several Boeing 747-200Fs. The publication cites internal documents obtained through a confidential source in the Venezuelan Ministry of Defense as its chief source. These weapons acquisitions have contributed to considerable tensions along Venezuela’s border with Colombia, according to Colombia’s centrist daily El Tiempo. The outlet reports that Colombia and Venezuela have violated one another’s airspaces with reconnaissance drones. For years, the Maduro regime has built up an arsenal of Iranian and Russian weapons. While many of Venezuela’s military branches remain poorly trained and equipped, the entrance of extra-hemispheric actors, and an arms buildup, could create the dynamics for a regional arms race and contribute to regional instability.

The documents prove Maduro’s acquisition of 2,015 air defense units that were stored at a military base. In total there are 1,050 missiles, 400 bombs, 500 rockets, 30 containers, and 35 radars.

Source: “Colombia en peligro: SEMANA revela las pruebas de los misiles, bombas y radares que Maduro le compró a Irán (Colombia in danger:
SEMANA reveals tests of the missiles, bombs, and radars that Maduro bought from Iran),” Semana (one of Colombia’s leading weeklies, generally viewed as center or center-left politically), 9 October 2021.
https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/amenaza-los-misiles-bombas-y-radares-quemaduro-le-compro-a-iran-y-ponen-en-serio-peligro-a-colombia/202146/

The documents prove Maduro’s acquisition of 2,015 air defense units that were stored at a military base. In total there are 1,050 missiles, 400 bombs, 500 rockets, 30 containers, and 35 radars. Everything is part of the so-called Operation Bolivarian Shield 2021…two elite groups of Iran’s Revolutionary Force also arrived in Venezuela, the best-trained group in that country in weapons, intelligence, and warfare.

Source: “Drones y detención de soldados reavivan tensión en frontera con Venezuela (Drones and detention of soldiers reignite tension on border with Venezuela),” El Tiempo (one of Colombia’s oldest dailies generally described as politically-centrist), 29 September 2021. https://www.eltiempo.com/mundo/venezuela/tension-entre-venezuela-y-colombia-por-drones-y-captura-de-sargentos-621630

Venezuela accused Colombia of violating its airspace with a drone. President Iván Duque denied it. After that episode, the National Government indicated on Sunday that from Venezuela there was an incursion into Colombian territory with a drone. Colombia has said that the accusation of the violation of Venezuelan airspace made by the Chavista Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino López, is false and that although they flew over the border, they did not reach the neighboring country.

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