Tillerson Says U.S. and Argentina Will Cooperate to Fight Hezbollah's Illicit Activities in Latin America

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Argentinian counterpart Foreign Minister Jorge FaurieThe United States and Argentina announced on Sunday that they will be working together to tackle Hezbollah’s financial networks in Latin America.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Argentinian counterpart Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie confirmed during a news conference that they will cooperate to drain the Iranian-backed terror organization’s financial resources, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.

Tillerson said that the two countries agreed to “attack and eliminate” the presence of Hezbollah in the region as well as its illicit activities which include money laundering and drug trafficking that serve as a means to finance their terror activities.

Iranian intelligence has been operating in Latin America since at least the 1980s, soon followed by Hezbollah. The networks these two established helped carry out the 1992 bombing at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the 1994 bombing of the AMIA, a Jewish community center in the country’s capital.

Hezbollah has used Latin America as a base for its terror-financing network for years, taking advantage of lax law enforcement, fragile institutions, and corruption. According to a 2016 report by The Washington Institute, Iran and Hezbollah continue to be “hyperactive” in the region. Meanwhile, Hezbollah operates terror cells in well-known hotspots such as the Tri-Border Area and its logistics, financing, and planning efforts are also ongoing elsewhere.

The announcement of U.S.-Argentinian cooperation in confronting the threat posed by Hezbollah follows revelations in Politico last year that the Obama administration had dismantled a task force that targeted Hezbollah’s drug smuggling in order to help secure the nuclear deal with Iran. Shortly after the Politico report appeared, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it was creating a team to investigate Hezbollah’s drug trafficking.

[Photo: U.S. Department of State / YouTube]

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