Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Narco-Persians Strike Again

The US accusations of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US were met with a certain degree of skepticism from the International community when they were made several months ago. Now another link between these two seemingly disparate groups is being suggested by Propublica's Sebastian Rotella who reports that US Federal prosecutors are accusing Hezbollah financier Ayman Joumaa of laundering cocaine money for Mexico's infamous Zetas.

For those not up on their 21st century drug lords, Joumaa's was named a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker this January. After receiving his new appellation, Joumaa also received what has become the de facto treatment of anything the Iranian that the US government dislikes: his US assets were frozen and all American entities were forbade from conducting business with him. In this case however, these acts were all in accordance with the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Aside from money laundering, Hezbollah is also known to raise funds through drug-dealing and arms smuggling. Since money laundering and arms smuggling are easier to document and leave a clearer paper trail that seen in the assassination accusations, it is likely that this narco-Persian connection will become the next round of actions taken against Iran by the US.

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