In an attempt to bolster it’s international reach through “soft power” methods, Iran is sponsoring trips for hundreds of Latin American students to attend a program in Tehran run by a lead suspect in the 1994 Buenos Aires Jewish center bombing, and designed to indoctrinate them on “anti-Americanism and Islam,” The Washington Post reported on Saturday in a feature, which included an interview with a Mexican student who was recruited into the program.
While experts cited in the report said the initiative could strengthen “Tehran’s foothold in countries such as Venezuela and Ecuador,” it also cited US and Latin American intelligence officials as saying Iran’s ulterior motive is to recruit students into “espionage and even hacking operations targeting U.S. computer systems.”
The article cited a report issued in May by an Argentine prosecutor who found evidence of “local clandestine intelligence networks” created by Iran in Latin America aimed at developing a “capability to provide logistic, economic and operative support to terrorist attacks decided by the Islamic regime.”
The program is supervised by Iranian cleric and government official, Mohsen Rabbani who is wanted internationally on terrorism charges, the Washington Post said. As cultural attache in Buenos Aires, Rabbani was accused by Argentina of aiding the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, the country’s deadliest terrorist attack.