Morgenthau Holds Briefing on Iran-Venezuela Connection

September 8th, 2009

Global Financial Integrity and the American Interest sponsored a briefing by New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau today which highlighted the growing connection between Iran and Venezuela.  From GFI’s release:

Addressing an audience of academics, civil society groups, Congressional staff, and journalists, Mr. Morgenthau discussed how the “blossoming relationship” between Iran and Venezuela presented opportunities for Iran to circumvent U.S. and international economic sanctions designed to prevent them from developing long-range missile capacity and nuclear technology for military purposes.

Mr. Morgenthau cited “scores of Memoranda of Understanding” between the two nations with respect to joint technology development, military cooperation, banking and finance, and cooperation with oil and gas exploration as evidence of increasing cooperation between the two states and noted that with an estimated 50,000 tons of un-mined uranium “there is speculation that Venezuela could be mining uranium for Iran.”   Mr. Morgenthau also noted that the emergence of Iranian-owned and controlled factories in remote and undeveloped parts of Venezuela could present ”ideal geographic locations for the illicit production of weapons.”

Mr. Morgenthau recommended increasing transparency in financial transactions, better “know your customer” practices, engaging the participation of Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors in discouraging Iran’s mounting presence in the region, and monitoring Venezuela’s banking system with the possibility of imposing economic sanctions.

“For Iran, the lifeblood of their nuclear and weapons programs is the ability to use the international banking system to make payments for banned missile and nuclear materials,” said Morgenthau in his prepared remarks.  “We all know that stopping the flow of illicit funds has a direct correlation to curbing wrongful conduct.”

GFI’s full news release can be read here.  A copy of Mr. Morgenthau’s remarks in full is available on Global Financial Integrity’s website here.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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