CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez rebuffed a Pentagon report that found that an elite unit from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has a presence in Venezuela, warning that the United States could be looking for an excuse to attack his country.
Chavez on Monday called the 12-page report that was delivered to the U.S. Congress last week “a disgrace,” saying “these are the things they raise and repeat in reports to later justify anything.”
In the report, the Pentagon concluded that Iran’s Qods Force, an elite unit within its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is well established and increasing its presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela.
“It’s totally false,” Chavez said of the report’s findings.
The unclassified Pentagon report did not include more details on what an increased presence by the Qods Force might entail. Pentagon officials have separately said that they do not believe Iranian terrorist proxies in Venezuela pose a threat to the United States.
Since taking office in 1999, Chavez has strengthened ties with Iran. The two countries have signed a wide range of cooperation agreements including the construction of an auto-assembly plant and agriculture projects in Venezuela.