October 21, 2022 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1662

Colombia's New President Gustavo Petro And The Dawn Of A New Era Of Opportunity For Iran In Latin America

October 21, 2022 | By Emmanuel Cadieux*
Iran | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1662

On June 19, 2022, for the first time in its history, Colombia elected a leftist president, Gustavo Petro, and will now have a leftist government. This historic departure from Colombia's traditional right-leaning and U.S.-aligned foreign policy led many countries, among them Iran, to rejoice at the prospect of the opportunities presented by the new president.

An analysis of the recent content of Iran's main Spanish-language media outlet, HispanTV, reveals that Iran is hoping for three main things under the new Colombian government: One, that President Petro will put an end to all military cooperation between Colombia and the U.S., which would allow Iran and its Lebanon proxy Hizbullah to continue their military buildup in Venezuela. Two, that there will be a restrengthening of Iran-Colombia diplomatic relations, which have been uninterrupted since 1975, and that under Petro's anticipated leadership in the region Iran will have free rein to continue spreading its Islamic revolutionary ideology in Latin America. Three, that Petro's agenda of a) restoring damaged diplomatic ties with its neighbor Venezuela, b) implementing the previously signed peace agreement with the Colombian guerilla organization FARC, and c) signing a new agreement with the Colombian guerilla organization ELN will all contribute to further facilitating Hizbullah's activity at the Colombia-Venezuelan border.

The following report will review and analyze HispanTV content in the lead-up to and following Petro's election as Colombia's first leftist president.

Table of Contents


  • Brief Methodological Considerations

  • Iran's Ideological Affinity With Leftist Latin American Governments

Iranian Expectation No. 1: The End Of All Colombia-U.S. Military Cooperation – Vital For Iran And Hizbullah To Continue Their Military Buildup In Venezuela

  • Colombia As The U.S.'s Most Important Latin American Ally: Historical Context

  • Petro's Prospective U.S. Policy As Understood By Iran

  • Iran's Single Greatest Obstacle In Latin America: Historical Context

Iranian Expectation No. 2: Strengthened Diplomatic Relations With Colombia And Petro's Possible Leadership In The Region – An Opportunity For Iran To Consolidate Its Revolutionary Stronghold In Latin America

  • Iran Rejoices At The Prospect Of Opportunities With Petro

  • Colombia-Venezuela-Iran Tensions And 2019 Rift – Historical Background

  • Iran Anticipates New Era Of Iran-Colombia Cooperation Under Petro – Due To His Ideological Affinity With It

  • Scenarios Of Reviving And Strengthening Bogota-Tehran Relations Under Petro's Presidency

Iranian Expectation No. 3: Reestablishment Of Colombia-Venezuela Diplomatic Relations, Peace Agreements With FARC And ELN – Which Will Facilitate Hizbullah Activity On Colombia-Venezuela Border

  • Reestablishing Colombia-Venezuela Diplomatic Relations, Reopening The Border: Background

  • Impact Of The Peace Negotiations With ELN On Hizbullah's Presence On The Border

  • HispanTV Campaign Celebrating Petro's Forthcoming Peace Agreement With The ELN And The Full Implementation Of The Previously Signed Peace Agreement With The FARC

  • ELN-Hizbullah: Ideological Parallels


Annex 1: Islamic Revolutionary Ideology And Marxism – Shared Ideological Points

  • Islam

  • Shi'a Ideology

Annex 2: Colombian Foreign Policy: The Magnitude Of The Current Political Shift – Background

Annex 3: HispanTV's Defamation Campaign Against Previous Colombian Administrations

Annex 4: Analysis Of The Ideological Affinity Among Petro, Chavez, And Maduro  

Annex 5: Iran's Awareness Of Petro's Potential To Become The Next Leading Figure In Latin America


On June 19, 2022, and for the first time in its history, Colombia elected a left-wing government. Domestically, this has been received as a healthy shift away from the traditional right-wing and center-right politics that have prevailed in the country for the last 200 years. Internationally, however, the shift comes at a heavy price for the U.S., which cannot afford to lose its most important Latin American ally, in light of the strategic alliances that Iran, Russia and China are forming in the region.

Brief Methodological Considerations

Despite growing concern about the China-Russia alliances in the region, this report will focus only on the immediate threat that Iran and its prospective alliance with the new Colombian government could represent for the U.S. Most of the information in this report has been collected from HispanTV, the Spanish-language cable and online channel operated by IRIB, Iran's state broadcaster since 2011. HispanTV, launched on the initiative of then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is now one of Iran's most important channels for spreading its Islamic revolutionary ideology on the American subcontinent, and its objective is destabilizing its adversaries in the region.[1]

Iran's Ideological Affinity With Leftist Latin American Governments

Since the 1980s, Iran has been developing strong ties with many leftist governments in Latin America based on a mutual ideological enmity towards the U.S. Governments such as those in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela saw the U.S. as an aggressor seeking to interfere with the sovereignty of their nations, steal their natural resources, and ultimately oppress their populations. This ideology fit well with Iran's Islamic revolutionary ideology, according to which the U.S. must be destroyed because it, more than any other country in the world, is responsible for the corruption of all human morals, the occupation of foreign land and the degradation of human freedom and dignity. (For more on ideological points shared by Islam and Marxism, see Annex 1).

Naturally, this shared enmity towards the U.S. has allowed Iran to infiltrate the agenda of some leftist Latin American governments and further erode U.S. credibility in the region. Today, many Latin Americans follow Iranian Spanish-language media such as HispanTV,[2] or Hizbullah-affiliated  media such as Alahednews Español,[3] Al Mayadeen TV Español,[4] and Annur TV,[5] and this has led to an important ideological rapprochement between Shi'as and leftists,[6] creating an important basis for cooperation.

Over the years, Iran has continued to consolidate its foothold in the region, and currently it enjoys new strategic military, political and economic alliances with countries such as Cuba,[7] Nicaragua,[8] and Venezuela.[9] Iran's ultimate goal is to build sufficient military infrastructure in South America to launch an attack on the U.S., and to this end it has been steadily working behind closed doors and training leaders to occupy political positions in Latin America.[10] Nevertheless, Colombia's historical military alliance with the U.S. has always represented an important obstacle to Iran's execution of its plans for the region.[11]

The following is an examination of Iran's three main expectations of Colombia's new leftist president, Gustavo Petro, and his government, as reflected in content published by Iran's Spanish-language HispanTV. 

Iranian Expectation No. 1: The End Of All Colombia-U.S. Military Cooperation – Vital For Iran And Hizbullah To Continue Their Military Buildup In Venezuela

Colombia As The U.S.'s Most Important Latin American Ally: Historical Context

Colombia's 200-year diplomatic history with the U.S. has led the two countries to build one of the strongest alliances in the southern hemisphere. In fact, the extent of Colombia's military cooperation with the U.S. has led the U.S. to designate it a "major non-NATO ally"[12] and has often earned Colombia the moniker of "the Israel of Latin America."[13] (For more on the Colombia-U.S. strategic alliance, see Annex 2).

The Colombia-U.S. strategic relationship has only grown stronger during the last four Colombian administrations. For instance, during the administration of Andrés Pastrana (1998-2002), the Clinton administration signed "Plan Colombia," a U.S. political, military, and foreign aid effort to help combat drug cartels and leftist insurgent groups in the country.[14] This program was further consolidated during the administration of Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-2010), who granted the U.S. access to seven military bases in the country to more effectively fight Colombian drug trafficking and terrorism.[15] Later, during Juan Manuel Santos' administration (2010-2018), the Obama administration invested more than $450 million in the Colombia-FARC peace agreement known as "Peace Colombia."[16] Lastly, during Ivan Duque's administration (2018-2022), the U.S. designated Colombia a "major non-NATO ally."[17] It is not without reason, therefore, that Iran perceives Colombia as undermining its interests throughout the region.

In view of this, Iran has launched a defamation campaign against Plan Colombia, arguing that the U.S. is utilizing the pretext of the drug-trafficking problem for interfering in the country.[18] This defamation campaign is being carried out jointly with the Venezuelan government, which has similarly asserted that Plan Colombia is actually a "war program" serving as a "cover-up" for the U.S.'s real aim – meddling with Colombian sovereignty, stealing its natural resources, and ultimately increasing its aggression against the rest of Latin America.[19]

Petro's Prospective U.S. Policy As Understood By Iran

Gustavo Petro's electoral triumph will likely represent a rupture of the historic U.S.-Colombia friendship. He is known to be a strong critic of the U.S., and is a strong critic of the U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia.[20] He is also known as a staunch opponent of U.S. foreign military intervention.[21] As a result, Iran has been keen to predict a schism in the Bogota-Washington strategic partnership.

One indication of Petro's anti-U.S. stance is his tweet, on January 25, 2019, when he was serving as a senator. He tweeted a photo of cities in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria labelled "before" and "after" U.S. intervention in internal conflicts. He wrote: "This is the reality of the military interventions that have taken place in the world... all led by the U.S. government, all [carried out] in key countries for oil extraction." These interventions, he wrote, were all aided by "Uribism" – a reference to Colombian president Álvaro Uribe's ideology of automatic alignment with U.S. foreign policy. He also called for an independent Colombian foreign policy instead of this automatic alignment. (For more on the magnitude of Colombia's policy shift towards the U.S., see Annex 2)., January 25, 2019.

In view of the above, HispanTV has stated that Petro's electoral triumph will likely represent a rupture of the historic U.S.-Colombia friendship. For instance, on June 20, 2022, on the occasion of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's phone call to the president-elect congratulating him on his win,[22] HispanTV posted on its Instagram account an analysis of the interaction, stating: "The U.S. congratulates Petro amid fears of losing its 'strategic ally' outside NATO... Antony Blinken, worried about the future of ties with a left-wing Colombia, is quick to extend his hand to Gustavo Petro.", June 20, 2022.

In a similar Instagram post the next day, HispanTV explained, under the heading "The U.S. loses Its 'Strategic Ally,'" that although in March 2022 the U.S. had granted Colombia, under President Duque, non-NATO ally status,[23] and that for decades Bogotá had been Washington's main regional partner, the leftist Petro was expected "to end the U.S. military presence in Colombia," established "on the pretext of fighting 'drug trafficking.'", June 21, 2022.

Two days later, on June 23, 2022, HispanTV posted a video on Instagram titled "The U.S. Loses Another Pawn In LatAm," suggesting that Petro would end all military cooperation with the U.S. Summarizing press statements about the future of Washington-Bogotá ties and the challenges for Petro's government, the video quoted the Bloomberg outlet as saying that "Petro may end US-Colombia military cooperation against drug trafficking.", June 22, 2022.

  1. As clearly evident from these Instagram posts, and from many others on the HispanTV Instagram account, Iran is keenly interested in the removal of U.S. military bases in Latin America, particularly in Colombia. The following section explores the reason for this key interest.

Iran's Single Greatest Obstacle In Latin America: Historical Context

Back in 2011, Iran began the construction of launch facilities for intermediate-range missiles on the Paraguaná Peninsula in Venezuela,[24] likely as part of an Iranian plan to use Venezuela as a base for an attack on the U.S. – much as the USSR had attempted to do from Cuba during the Cold War. The Paraguaná Peninsula is roughly 120 kilometers from Colombia – and Iran considers the single greatest obstacle to the achievening of this, and other, goals to be Colombia's strategic partnership with the U.S.

Now, however, Iran has reason to believe that the way will be cleared for it to freely build the necessary infrastructure in Venezuela to fully carry out its plans. It thinks that with Petro's inauguration, the U.S. has lost its most important military ally outside NATO and that it will now be forced to remove its military bases in Colombia.[25] Thus, Iran will be able to go ahead with its plans for missile launch facilities in Venezuela for its Shahab-3 missiles.

Iranian Expectation No. 2: Strengthened Diplomatic Relations With Colombia And Petro's Possible Leadership In The Region – An Opportunity For Iran To Consolidate Its Revolutionary Stronghold In Latin America

Iran Rejoices At The Prospect Of Opportunities With Petro

Iran has made no secret of its delight in Petro's win, and over the past months it has published a great deal of information and news about him, revealing its strategic interest in him.

For instance, on election day, June 19, 2022, HispanTV celebrated Petro's win with multiple tweets calling the election results "historic" and as marking "a new political era" in Colombia. The following day, June 20, it tweeted a short biography of the new president that played up his membership, as a young man, in the Colombian revolutionary guerilla group 19th of April Movement (M-19), which is now demobilized. This may allude to Iran's hope that Petro will be sympathetic towards Hizbullah because of his revolutionary past., June 20, 2022;, June 20, 2022;, June 19, 2022;, June 19, 2022;, June 16, 2022.

The HispanTV posts on Petro reflect two main themes: unrelenting praise for him and his agenda, and unstinting criticism of former presidents.[26] (For more on HispanTV's defamation of former Colombian administrations, see Annex 3).

As could have been expected, Iran wasted no time in establishing ties with the new Colombian government, and ensured that Iran's Vice President for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Hosseini was a special guest of Petro at his inauguration.[27] Later, Petro's new foreign minister, Álvaro Leyva Durán, announced on his Instagram account that he had held "a dialogue on strategic issues of the bilateral relationship with the Vice President of the Republic of Iran."

An August 9, 2022 Instagram post by HispanTV stated: "The Iranian Vice President, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, expresses Iran's willingness to strengthen ties with other countries, including the new Government of Colombia. The Persian minister, who traveled to Colombia to participate in the inauguration ceremony of Gustavo Petro as Colombian president, expressed his hope that Tehran-Bogotá ties would increase through the administration's cooperation with the country's parliament."

On August 6, HispanTV wrote on Instagram that Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva Durán had on that day, the day of Petro's inauguration, held a "strategic meeting" with Vice President Mohammad Hosseini in which the two "highlighted the fraternity between the two countries and reviewed the ways to consolidate bilateral relations.", August 9, 2022;, August 6, 2022.

The August 6 Durán-Hosseini meeting prompted alarm both inside and outside the country, given that the previous year a crisis had erupted between Iran and Colombia when the outgoing Colombian defense minister referred to Iran as Colombia's adversary (more on this below). Even more controversial was Hosseini's meeting with former FARC members.[28]

On August 6, former senator Sandra Ramírez, a former FARC member and the long-time romantic partner of one of its leaders, the late Pedro Antonio Marín aka Manuel Marulanda aka Tirofijo, tweeted: "Today we attended several important meetings with the international community. We met with the Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Seyed Mohammad Hosseini. Topics on the political agenda were peace and the building of a better country.", August 6, 2022.

Hosseini also met with former FARC members at the Iranian Embassy in Bogota, where he was interviewed by HispanTV. In the interview, he raised Iran's expectation of enhanced relations with the Colombian government, given that Colombia was "no longer under the influence of the United States."[29] HispanTV wrote about the meeting: "Hosseini met with Congressmen, political and religious leaders, and [at the meeting] proposals were presented which will not only benefit these two countries, but also the entire South American continent. It is not without reason, therefore, that these events have caused various sectors to become concerned about a potential plan by the Iranian regime to infiltrate the region."[30]

HispanTV coverage of the meeting

Colombia-Venezuela-Iran Tensions And 2019 Rift – Historical Background

In February 2019, a coalition of Colombia, Brazil, the U.S., and the Netherlands sought to bring humanitarian aid and essential goods to Venezuela in response to the food shortages resulting from the crisis in that country between its rival governments of Presidents Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaido.[31] However, Maduro considered the move to be part of a U.S.-orchestrated coup plot, and announced the dissolution of all diplomatic ties with Colombia and the closure of its borders with Colombia and Brazil.[32]

Maduro claimed that Bogota had colluded with Washington and the opposition party in Venezuela to force ostensible U.S. humanitarian aid into the country from Colombia, but that this aid was a Trojan horse aimed at bringing in arms to the Venezuelan opposition and advancing an intervention in the country.[33] Likewise, in early May 2020, Maduro announced that he had uncovered an assassination plot against him spearheaded by Washington and Bogota.[34]

Colombia-Venezuela relations were further aggravated in November 2021, when Colombia received an intelligence report from the Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies stating that Hizbullah cells were operating in Venezuela with the support of the Venezuelan regime.[35] At that time, then-Colombian president Iván Duque met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and the two agreed to exchange intelligence information on Hizbullah and on threats resulting from the presence of cells on the Colombia-Venezuela border.[36]

The Duque-Herzog meeting was joined by then-Colombian defense minister Diego Molano, who said about a meeting he had held with Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz: "Here we have a common enemy, and it is the case of Iran and Hizbullah that is operating against Israel but also supports the Venezuelan regime. Therefore, it is an important effort and an exchange of information and intelligence that we are developing with the military forces and Israel's Defense Ministry."[37]

According to the Mossad, Hizbullah had arrived in South America under the auspices of the Venezuelan government and had afterwards had allied with Colombian guerrilla groups also seeking refuge in Venezuela, launching joint operations against Israeli agents and U.S. diplomats in Bogota.[38] According to the intelligence dossier provided to Molano by the Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies, Hizbullah had been monitoring Israeli agents and U.S. diplomats in Colombia in order to assassinate them; one target was a retired Israeli agent who had planned to settle in the country but required protection from Israel because of a plan to assassinate him in Bogotá, apparently in retaliation for the U.S.'s January 2020 killing of Iranian IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani.[39]  

Prior to Molano's statements on November 2021 declaring Iran Colombia's enemy, there was already concern in Colombia about an arms deal between Iran and the regime of Venezuelan President Maduro; under this deal, Caracas would have received a delivery of 1,500 missiles, 400 bombs, 500 rockets, 30 containers and 35 radars, as part of what the Venezuelan dictatorship called "Operation Bolivian Shield 2021."[40]  

On October 9, 2021, the Colombian journal Semana had reported the existence of documents revealing that on June 21, 2021, the Venezuelan regime had acquired a powerful shipment of weapons aboard a cargo Boeing 747-200F belonging to the Iranian airline Fars Air Qeshm (controlled by Mahan Air). According to the report, the aircraft carried a Talash air defense system (mobile, long-range, and designed to fire Sayyad-2 and Sayyad-3 missiles, capable of destroying targets up to 200 kilometers away). The aircraft also carried 1,050 missiles (300 AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, 300 AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, 250 anti-ship missiles, 100 AGM-84 anti-ship missiles and 100 AGM 65-g surface-to-air missiles); 400 bombs (200 units of 500 kg ZAB bombs and 200 units of 500 kg RBK bombs); 500 rockets (UB-32 launcher with S-5 rockets); 35 AESA APG-83 SABR radar systems; and 30 UPK-23-250 containers, as part of what the Venezuelan regime called "Operation Bolivarian Shield 2021."[41]

According to the report, international intelligence agencies had detected at least between 12 and 17 flights like this that have reached the neighboring country. Moreover, in the same month that the Boeing 747-200F arrived, the Pentagon in Washington had detected the displacement of two Iranian Navy ships towards Venezuelan coasts. [42]

In view of diplomatic tension with Colombia that ensued after the discovery, the Iranian Embassy in Colombia tweeted on November 9, 2021: "Iran and Colombia are two friendly countries and have an historic relationship. Destroying this relationship does not benefit the people of these countries... Iran-Venezuela relations were formed within the framework of international law, and are growing. These relations are not a threat to any country, including the countries of Latin America... The documents published by a Colombian publication that affirm that there is a trade in advanced weapons and missiles between Iran and Venezuela are false... Iran and Venezuela have beneficial economic and trade relations. Other Latin American countries can also enjoy beneficial trade and economic relations with Iran... Colombia and Iran are brothers – one in South America and one in the Middle East. Long live Iran, long live Colombia.", November 9, 2021.

Iran Anticipates New Era Of Iran-Colombia Cooperation Under Petro – Due To His Ideological Affinity With It

Despite Molano's correct assessment of the Hizbullah threat in Venezuela, he was roundly criticized by high-profile Colombian politicians for declaring Iran an enemy of Colombia. Among the critics was Petro; he accused Molano on November 8, 2021 of bringing Colombia to the brink of war against a country that had "never harmed" Colombia. Petro tweeted: "Minister @Diego_Molano, can Colombia consider a country with which it has diplomatic relations to be an enemy? Can a minister put us in warlike circumstances with a country that has never harmed us?", November 8, 2021.

This was not the first time Petro had shown sympathy for the Iranian regime. On January 3, 2020, he condemned the U.S. killing of IRGC Qods Force commander Soleimani, tweeting praise for him as "the architect of the defeat of ISIS, the fascist Islamic fundamentalism... who together with the Kurds and the Syrian Arabs achieved victory over a great enemy of democracy." He added: "The U.S. congratulates its [own] effort in assassinating him. The U.S. only strengthens the worst of the Middle East." Three days later, on Jan 6, 2020, Petro retweeted a tweet about Soleimani's funeral in Tehran, and added: "Virtually all of Tehran, Iran has taken to the streets for the funeral of their general.", January 3, 2020.

Immediately following Petro's electoral win, on June 21, 2022 on Instagram, HispanTV highlighted tweets by Petro, a senator at the time, following Soleimani's January 2020 killing; the tweets reflected support for Iranian ideology. This indicates that Iran believes that Petro's presidency will usher in a new era of Colombia-Iran cooperation. HispanTV wrote: "In a tweet following the assassination of Qassem Soleimani in 2020, the now president-elect of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, repudiated this crime committed by the U.S." HispanTV added: "On Twitter, Petro described the lieutenant general as 'the architect of the defeat of [the terrorist group] Daesh [ISIS].'", June 21, 2022.

The same day, June 21, HispanTV published an article on its website describing Petro, still a senator at the time, as "repudiating" this U.S. crime, i.e. killing Soleimani, and stating that he had eulogized Soleimani on Twitter as "the architect of the defeat of [the terrorist group] ISIS."

The article presented statements by former Iranian Ambassador to Mexico Mohamad Hasan Qadiri Abyaneh, who had said in an interview that "Petro's victory as Colombia's first leftist president was considered a defeat for the U.S., which had invested heavily in defeating" him. Abyaneh went on to say that "the coming to power of a leftist president in Colombia is extremely important in the current situation, since the U.S. will lose its backyard in the region, despite its efforts for the triumph of the right," and predicted that the Americans would not stop their plots against Colombia and would continue to "hatch" conspiracies against the new Colombian government, just as they had against Venezuela following the election of Hugo Chávez there.[43]

Also on June 21, Iran's state news agency IRNA published an article expressing Iran's confidence that Petro's rise would represent a new era in Colombian foreign policy. It stated: "According to experts, the victory of the leftist president in the Colombian presidential elections represents a milestone in the history of Colombia and in Latin America – a turning point in the redefinition of Colombia's foreign policy towards the countries of the region and the Americas."[44]

HispanTV expressed a similar hope in two June 25, 2022 Instagram posts stressing that during his 2017 presidential campaign, Petro had granted an exclusive interview to the outlet. The posts included excerpts of the interview. One post stated "Gustavo Petro spoke in 2017 with HispanTV about peace in Colombia," and the other stated, "Petro exclusively to HispanTV: How can Colombia reach the desired peace? In an interview with HispanTV, the new president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, explained in 2017 how his country can reach peace and exit the current ordeal.", June 25, 2022;, June 26, 2022;, June 26, 2022;, June 27, 2022.

Scenarios Of Reviving And Strengthening Bogota-Tehran Relations Under Petro's Presidency

On June 21 and July 4, Iran's NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity[45] announced online lectures by Latin American political scientists sympathetic to Iran's Islamic Revolution, to be held on June 23 and July 5, 2022. The first lecture was titled "Colombia to the Left:  The Presidential Election of Gustavo Petro – A New Era?" to be delivered by Carlos Mauricio Gómez; it gave an overview of Petro's political trajectory, with the goal of evaluating the likelihood of Colombia's re-establishment of full diplomatic relations with Venezuela and a reboot of its relations with Iran. Gómez referred to the ideological affinity between Petro and the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as evidence of a potential Colombia-Venezuela rapprochement, with the caveat that "[Venezuelan President] Maduro is not Chavez; their concepts of the 'left' are very different and Maduro is not completely aligned with Gustavo Petro's thought." About Colombia-Iran relations, Gómez was optimistic, citing Petro's condemnation of the U.S. killing of Soleimani and support for the Iranian regime as important evidence that they would be normalized., June 21, 2022.

Gómez stated that it was unlikely that full Colombia-Iran diplomatic relations would resume in 2022, as Petro would likely be busy setting up his new government, but that 2023 should see the beginning of closer ties. "Otherwise," he stressed, "we are going to pressure him to normalize all relations, because it is also convenient for Iran to have a new best friend" – a reference to Iran's current "best friend," Venezuela. However, in light of events noted in this report, Gomez appears to have been too pessimistic.

Concerning the question of what Colombia could offer Iran that Nicaragua or Venezuela do notnot, Gomez concluded: "Colombia has the capacity, it has resources and a good economy, not an extraordinary one, but among the other countries in the region, it stands out, so it is also convenient for Iran."

Lastly, Gomez explained that given Petro's background as an economist and his desire to prioritize economic relations with Colombia's neighbors over economic ties with the U.S. and Europe, he would likely develop close relations with other leftist governments, who would begin to see him as a regional leader. Citing Petro's charisma and intelligence as intrinsic qualities that every good leader possesses and which Petro embodies, Gomez added: "Petro has the full capacity to become the new regional leader, because he has the experience and the [university] studies. That is, [Petro's left] is an intellectual left, not a warlike left or a vindictive left, nor an inexperienced left..."

With these statements, Gomez was in fact echoing Petro's rival, former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, who in 2021 said: "Colombia may have the worst neocommunism in the region. Dr. Petro is much more intelligent than Chávez, Dr. Petro is much more intelligent than Castillo, than President Fernández of Argentina, Dr. Petro is much more intelligent than Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. That is why I have said very conscientiously that the teacher was not Chávez – it was Petro who taught Chávez. Colombia may have the most dangerous communism in the entire region, because it has the most intelligent leader of neocommunism – Dr. Petro."[46]

Petro met Chavez in 1994; at that time, Petro was a member of M-19. A well-known photo of Petro and Chavez was taken in Bogotá in 1994, when Chavez had just launched his presidential campaign in Venezuela. It is said that Petro advised Chavez, and some even claim that Petro gave Chávez several ideas for his campaign and for developing his political and economic agenda. Others claim that Petro was the real architect and adviser of the Chavez campaign in Venezuela.

Petro and Chavez in 1994 (Source:, June 5, 2018)

In light of the above, it can be reasonably established that Iran is aware that Colombia's Petro will come to be regarded as the real leader in the region, not Venezuelan President Maduro. Thus, it will likely turn its attention from its traditional allies in the region – Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela – and embark upon an aggressive strategy of rapprochement with Colombia. To present itself as more attractive to Colombia, Iran will work in conjunction with its new allies, Russia and China, who have also prioritized Latin America as the most strategic region for consolidating a new world order[47] that would displace the U.S. and the West as the main trading partners with South America. In that sense, it was no surprise that Iran, Russia and China conducted joint military drills in Venezuela from August 13 through 27,[48] soon after Petro's inauguration, to further provoke the U.S. around the time it lost its greatest ally in the region. These "Army Games 2022" were held in the city of Barquisimeto and were attended by delegations from Russia, China, Iran, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Myanmar, among others. These exercises, in which 200 soldiers participated, included a large deployment of tanks, drones, and snipers and demonstration of techniques and capabilities in the use of armored vehicles, AK-47 assault rifles, ammunition, long distance shooting with snipers, and remote-control drones.[49]

Gomez' lecture concluded with remarks by University of Tehran professors expressing delight at the prospect of relationships between Colombian and Iranian universities. These relationships, they said, would allow for seminars, webinars, and cultural relations, such as celebrating Colombian cinema in Iranian universities and Iranian cinema in Colombian universities – another avenue for Iran to spread its revolutionary ideology in Latin America.

The second lecture, "New Foreign Policy? Perspectives of Colombia-Iran Relations in the Presidency of Gustavo Petro 2022-2026," by Latin American political scientist Dr. Alvaro Alexander Velez, provided an in-depth historical analysis of Colombian foreign policy from a leftist perspective and set out possible scenarios for Iran-Colombia diplomatic relations under the Petro presidency., July 4, 2022.

The first scenario set out in the lecture was a "continuation of the isolation, decline and distancing" from Iran that had occurred under presidents Alvaro Uribe Velez and Ivan Duque. President Velez had closed Colombia's embassy in Tehran, leaving all diplomatic and consular services to be provided by its embassy in Ankara, Turkey. President Duque had, according to the lecture, jeopardized Colombia-Iran relations following his defense minister's claim that Iran was Colombia's enemy.  

The second scenario was titled "Precarious and Slow Reset," as part of which Colombia could open a consulate in Tehran, but there would be no further development of Iran-Colombia political and cultural ties.

A third scenario, which Prof. Velez considered the most likely, was a "stable and lasting reset of strategic depth." In it, Colombia would not only reopen its embassy in Tehran, but would also establish solid economic and commercial relations, develop reciprocal ties in religion, culture, education and art, and launch energy, nanotechnology, and scientific cooperation between the two countries.

The overall discussion during both conferences centered around whether Petro would make the third scenario a reality. The conferees were certain that he would, citing Petro's revolutionary past, his criticism of American interventionism and neoliberalism, and his latent sympathy for Iran – all evidence, in their eyes, that Petro would re-open the Colombian Embassy in Tehran and establish strong relations between the two countries.

During the conference, Dr. Velez cited Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian's enthusiastic June 21, 2022 congratulatory messages to Petro as evidence of the "flourishing relations between the two countries." The minister had tweeted: "The Islamic Republic of Iran greets and congratulates the people of Colombia for turning out for the presidential elections in a free and democratic environment [and] extends congratulations on the victory of Mr. Gustavo Petro as President Elect and wishes success for him and the people of Colombia, on the path of welfare development.", June 21, 2022;, June 21, 2022;, June 21, 2022.

Also in his lecture, Dr. Velez emphasized Petro's attitude towards Middle East conflicts as providing further insight into his foreign policy, noting that Petro had on occasion showed solidarity with the Western Sahara.

Petro had tweeted on November 20, 2020 about the close ideological relationship between the Sahrawis and the M19, the armed organization Petro to which he had once belonged: "Although it sounds strange in Colombia, for several decades we have been in solidarity with the Polisario Front and its struggle for its nation's independence from Morocco. Once, people from the M-19 [to which Petro once belonged] and the Front walked together through those deserts dreaming of a new world.", November 20, 2020.

Dr. Velez said that Petro's recognition of the Sahrawis shed light on his general view of Middle East conflicts, in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Though Velez did not mention it in his lecture, Petro is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and regularly condemns alleged Israeli aggression against the Palestinians (for more on this, see Annex 4).

On August 8, 2022, the Palestinian Embassy announced on its Instagram account: "Today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine, Dr. Riad Malki, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Dr. Alvaro Leyva [Duran], with the aim of strengthening the bonds of friendship between both nations." Durán posted the same announcement on his own Instagram account.

It is expected that the new government's stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be the opposite of the view that has prevailed in all previous Colombian governments. This appears to be confirmed by the fact that one of Foreign Minister Durán's first high-level meetings as foreign minister, on August 7, 2022, was with Malki.,, August 8, 2022.

Dr. Velez also noted that Petro's appointment of Durán as foreign minister was favorable to Iran, since Duran intends to demobilize the ELN National Liberation Army. The following section explores the reason behind this statement.

Iranian Expectation No. 3: Reestablishment Of Colombia-Venezuela Diplomatic Relations, Peace Agreements With FARC And ELN – Which Will Facilitate Hizbullah Activity On Colombia-Venezuela Border

Reestablishing Colombia-Venezuela Diplomatic Relations, Reopening The Border: Background

On June 20, 2022, the day after Petro's victory was announced, HispanTV posted on its Instagram account an article titled "Venezuela, Ready To Renew Relations With Petro's Colombia." The noted that article mentioned how Venezuelan President Maduro had congratulated Petro on his "historic victory" and indicated that a new era was in sight for Colombia. It added that after "the turbulent relations with [the previous Colombian president] Iván Duque," Venezuela had now expressed "the strongest of wills to work on building a revived stage of comprehensive relations for the common good of the nation that we share, protected by two sovereign Republics."[50]

Two days later, Petro tweeted about his initial contacts with Venezuela on the issue of reopening the border between the two countries: "I have reached out to the Venezuelan government to open the borders and restore the full exercise of human rights on the border." Hours later, HispanTV made a similar announcement on its Instagram account, stating: "The elected president of Colombia has contacted the Venezuelan government for the reopening of the common border, closed for almost three years.", June 22, 2022., June 22, 2022.

Throughout July 2022, HispanTV published several articles celebrating Petro's election, all of them stressing Iran's and Colombia's mutual commitment to "peace" and "security" on the Colombia-Venezuela border.

A July 17 article titled "Report Reveals How Petro And Maduro Bring Colombia And Venezuela Closer" noted that in a phone conversation, Petro and Venezuelan President Maduro had expressed "willingness to restore normality on the borders and had discussed various issues about the peaceful and prosperous future of both nations." The article also pointed out that Petro had promised to open trade with Venezuela and work to eradicate the armed groups on the border.[51]

Another article, published July 28, announced that Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria and the new Colombian Foreign Minister Duran had signed an agreement expressing both countries' will to gradually reestablish relations, starting August 7, 2022, the date of Petro's inauguration, with the appointment of ambassadors and other diplomatic and consular officials. It added that the foreign ministers had highlighted that they would "work to guarantee security and peace in the border areas, as well as the opening of the border, which will directly benefit our peoples of Colombia and Venezuela."[52]

On July 30, 2022, HispanTV published on its Instagram account a series of posts summarizing its July 28 article, which was titled "The Post-Duque Era Dawns: Maduro Greets The Blossoming Of Peace With Colombia." The second post featured a photo of the two foreign ministers shaking hands and stated: "On Thursday, the Venezuelan foreign minister met with Álvaro Leyva [Duran], who will be his Colombian counterpart starting August 7, and they discussed the resumption of bilateral ties." The third post quoted Venezuelan President Maduro as saying that "Colombia and Venezuela are Siamese sisters. We have to be united behind a single ideal: peace, collaboration, integration,' and the fourth stated "As of August 7, when Gustavo Petro takes office, the neighbors will fully resume bilateral ties, frozen since 2019.",  July 30, 2022.

In a follow-up article published July 29, HispanTV noted that Maduro had referred to the meeting as "successful, virtuous, extraordinary," and said that officials from both countries were working on 14 issues, including the "progressive economic and commercial opening of the border and the peace and security plans for the entire border area."[53] Other HispanTV news on Petro during the month of August.[54]

Iran's enthusiasm at the opportunities that it sees arising during Petro's presidency only increased when the new president announced that his government was willing to begin talks with the Colombian guerilla organization ELN. The following section will address the interest Iran has in Colombia reaching a peace agreement with the organization.

Impact Of The Peace Negotiations With ELN On Hizbullah's Presence On The Border

In his online lecture hosted by the NAM Institute, political scientist Dr. Alvaro Alexander Velez had stated clearly that a peace agreement with the ELN was favorable to Iran, because "if this guerrilla group disappears under the presidency of Gustavo Petro, as is the most likely scenario, the right and international Zionism will no longer [be able to] use ELN's existence as a pretext for severing relations with sister countries such as Iran." Velez further explained that then-defense minister Molano's declaration that Iran was Colombia's enemy "was due to the existence of the ELN guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, which is related to liberation ideology, and which is supposed to receive military training and support in the Colombian-Venezuelan border area from the Lebanese group Hizbullah."

In other words, according to Dr. Velez in the lecture, Iran hopes that when an agreement is struck with the ELN, which is the last remaining guerrilla group in the country, Colombia will leave the issue of Hizbullah alone and it will be able to continue its activity in Venezuela and on the border undisturbed. Thus, Iran has launched a propaganda campaign, via HispanTV, depicting the terrorist group favorably and commending Petro's initial efforts at reaching a peace agreement with it.

HispanTV Campaign Celebrating Petro's Forthcoming Peace Agreement With The ELN And The Full Implementation Of The Previously Signed Peace Agreement With The FARC

On May 17, 2022, HispanTV published an article focusing on a 10-day ceasefire unilaterally declared by the ELN prior to the elections. The article provides a partial history of Colombia's peace negotiations with the organization, which began in March 2016 but were broken off on January 17, 2019 following an ELN terror attack inside the General Santander Police School in Bogotá in which 23 people were killed and nearly 100 more wounded. The article then goes on to state that since then, peace negotiations with the ELN have been at a standstill. It also claims that the ELN is willing to negotiate with the incoming government and stresses that according to the ELN, "peace is necessary to address issues such as corruption, the persecution and assassination of social leaders, and drug trafficking." The article also decries former defense minister Molano's response to the ELN's announcement that it is willing to negotiate with the incoming government; Molano had said that "only the Colombian Armed Forces can guarantee the security of Colombians."[55]

On June 21, 2022, after Petro's electoral win, HispanTV published another article, this time announcing the ELN's hopes of resuming talks with the new Petro government. The article enumerates some of the ELN's demands of the new president, such as "a new and inclusive economic model that prioritizes employment and entrepreneurship for the majority," new governmental policies to "overcome patronage and remove violence from politics," a "sovereign economy without depredation" – i.e. cancellation of the 2012 Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. – and a new "security and human rights doctrine" entailing "a new model of fighting against drugs" and that would give "continuity to the peace process." The article then concludes by underlining the ELN's declaration that if the government abides by its demands, "it will be backed by the popular movement."[56]

HispanTV discussed Petro's response to the ELN in a July 6, 2022 article titled "The Time For Peace Has Arrived." The article highlighted the new president's expressed commitment to renew the Colombia-ELN dialogue "without ignoring the changes the ELN and Colombian society have undergone during the four-year pause in the dialogue."

The article also claimed that, in announcing the government's willingness to resume talks with the ELN, Petro had also alluded to Colombia's need to comply with the previously signed peace agreement with the FARC, which according to HispanTV has not been thoroughly implemented, leading to tensions in relations with Cuba, the Kingdom of Norway, and the International Red Cross.[57] This and other articles indicate Iran's interest on the subject of Petro's implementation of the peace agreement with the FARC.

For instance, on August 9, 2022, HispanTV highlighted Petro's decision to negotiate with the remnants of the FARC and ELN guerrillas and accused the right in Colombia of being "the main obstacle to the implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreement." It also said: "The ELN, as well as the largest group of FARC dissidents to have withdrawn from the Peace Agreement and the Clan del Golfo – the main armed wing of the drug traffickers – have all accepted Petro's offers of dialogue." The last two organizations have even separately proposed a ceasefire.[58] Similarly, on July 1, 2022, HispanTV reiterated Petro's statement that if elected, his government "would recognize the protocols of the peace agreement between the government of former president Juan Manuel Santos and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and would initiate the comprehensive peace process with all actors of violence."[59]

These articles, among others,[60] show Iran's interest in Petro's peace agreements with both the ELN and the FARC. The articles reflect the rapprochement that has been underway between Latin American Shi'ites and the ELN and FARC for some time. For instance, on September 7, 2022, Argentinian Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Mohsen Ali posted photos on his Instagram page from an "interfaith dialogue" event he attended in 2019 in Colombia; the FARC party flag is visible in the photos. Sheikh Mohsen Ali, who is widely known as an outspoken supporter of Hizbullah,[61] heads the House for the Dissemination of Islam (Casa para la Difusión del Islam), which is located in Buenos Aires on property owned by Mohsen Rabbani,[62] a key suspect in the bombings of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the AMIA building in Argentina in 1994.

At the "Interfaith Dialogue" event in 2019 in Colombia. Left: Sheikh Mohsen Ali (left) next to Al-Reza Mosque founder Juventino Muhammad Sadiq (1944-2021).Center: Mohsen Ali next to the flag of the FARC political party. Right: Mohsen Ali with his two children, holding the Syrian, Hizbullah, and Argentinean flags. Posted September 7, 2022.

Additionally, on July 10, HispanTV posted on its Instagram account an overview of the most important events of the week, featuring Petro's announcement that he sought to resume peace talks with the ELN. HispanTV revealed its optimism by stating that "peace is in sight in Colombia" and "The time for peace has arrived."[63], July 10, 2022.

ELN-Hizbullah: Ideological Parallels

The ELN's ideology has much in common with Iran's revolutionary ideology; some appear to even have been borrowed from Iran- and Hizbullah-related sources. For instance, in its articles on global affairs, posted on its website, it regularly depicts the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia as oppressive and exploitative powers and as enemies of the "free countries" of the world such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Palestine and Libya.[64] The ELN refers to these countries as nations that "resist" oppression,[65] which is also a prominent feature of Iran and Hizbullah-affiliated media. Moreover, the ELN is notably sympathetic towards Russia and China, another recent characteristic of Iranian media,[66] and harshly critical of NATO.[67] additionally, the ELN's marked expressions of concern, beginning in 2021, for the Palestinian cause[68] stands out, given that in its nearly 60-year history it has never shown such concern for geographically distant conflicts. Beginning in 2021,[69] the ELN begin publishing articles on the Middle East centering on the war in Afghanistan and the Palestinian cause.

One article on the ELN website is noteworthy for content that is very similar to text found in Iran's state media; it is odd that a Colombian guerrilla group that has historically focused solely with Colombian politics would show such a level of concern and knowledge regarding Middle East conflicts so foreign to its own.

The article read in part: "Since 2003, the 'War on Terror' has led to a 'preventive war' with 'humanitarian interventions' by NATO and its allies against Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Al Qaeda and Bin Laden were fabricated by the U.S. and the fundamentalist monarchy of Saudi Arabia in the 80s as instruments of terrorist war in Afghanistan, which at the time was invaded by troops from the Soviet Union. Al Qaeda has had multiple 'spin-offs' all of which have been employed by NATO in its wars against Libya, Syria and Iraq in the last 20 years, and now the U.S. Intelligence Agencies use ISIS-K in Afghanistan to continue destabilizing the region. Under the 'War on Terror' banner, the U.S. and its NATO partners take the opportunity to sell weapons, capture wealth from mining and impose puppet regimes in geostrategic locations... The failure of the US/NATO wars of occupation will continue to occur as long as they maintain their policy of imposing their model of democracy and their vision of Human Rights, denying sovereignty and national cultures. The US/NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan will have repercussions on the course of the war in Syria and Yemen, on the occupation of Palestine by Israel and on the reconfiguration of alliances in Asia."


As can be established from the phone conversations between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. President Joe Biden,[70] Colombia will maintain relations with the U.S. under the new government of President Gustavo Petro. These relations, however, will cease to be "strategic," and will likely be downgraded to simply "cordial." It is expected that Petro will call for a revision of the Colombia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and insist on one that is more "equitable."[71] Moreover, in light of Petro's criticism of U.S. military intervention around the globe, it is likely that he will do everything in his power to end all military cooperation with the U.S. – a move that will directly benefit Iran and Hizbullah.

It is unlikely that Petro will actively seek to aid Iran or its proxy Hizbullah. Nevertheless, in executing his government plan of restoring diplomatic ties with Venezuela, opening the frontier and reaching a peace agreement with the ELN, he will unknowingly play into the hands of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and their Lebanese terrorist counterparts, who will in turn take up the opportunity to continue working behind the scenes to finalize their military buildup in Venezuela. Lastly, Petro's ideological affinity with the countries of the periphery and his governmental agenda of strengthening commercial and political ties with Colombia's neighbors is also of interest Iran, who sees Petro's emergence as Latin America's new regional leader as a strong incentive to build strong relations with the South American country in order to further consolidate its stronghold in the rest of the Latin American subcontinent.

Annex 1: Islamic Revolutionary Ideology And Marxism – Shared Ideological Points

Islamic Revolutionary ideology promotes the idea of a world order led by the U.S., aka "the Great Satan"; Israel, aka "the Little Satan"; Saudi Arabia, and a number of other countries that oppress the peoples of the world through military aggression, terrorism, colonialism, economic exploitation, and moral degradation. As the foremost Islam expert Moshe Sharon[72] explains, since the Shi'ites consider themselves the underdogs of the Islamic world due to their persecution at the hands of the Sunnis, the first goal of Iran's Islamic revolutionary regime is to destroy Saudi Arabia, which more than any other country represents pure Sunni Islam. The regime also seeks to destroy the U.S., "a Christian country which is so big and so strong that in order to take over the world it needs to be brought down." This war against the West also includes Israel, whose very existence "puts the whole Muslim world to shame."[73] Thus, for Iran's revolutionary regime, all nations must heed the rallying call of Iran and Hizbullah, which are the only powers that can stand up to the U.S. and its allies to "liberate" the oppressed nations of the world.

When there is political upheaval and popular unrest – as is currently the case in Colombia and many other Latin American countries – there is a perfect opportunity for the Islamic revolutionary narrative to take root in otherwise stable societies. This narrative reimagines traditional power struggles as part of a larger conspiracy by a given country's government, in collusion with the U.S. and Israel, to oppress the working class, take ownership of natural resources, control the market and politically dominate the nation. The promoters of this narrative encourage local populations to see a parallel between their country's struggle for economic and national independence and Iran's struggle against the U.S. hegemony. Once this idea gains traction, on an individual or group level, it is a small step to becoming convinced that the logical answer to the country's problems is to join Iran's "axis of resistance" against the U.S and against tyranny in the country.

The ideological proximity between leftist groups in Colombia and religious Shi'ites is rooted in a profound sense of victimhood. Their view of themselves as disenfranchised minorities allows them ample room for ideological agreement and cooperation. (For an in-depth analysis of the contradictions of Iranian support of leftist movements in Latin America, see MEMRI Daily Brief No. 291, Iran's Hardy Spanish Media Mole, June 30, 2021.)


Along the same ideological lines as Marxism, Islam's worldview is one of victimization and empowerment. It did not begin in year 613 C.E. when Muhammad first began to preach his distinct form of monotheism in Mecca; it was only a decade later, during the hijra in 622 C.E., when the early Muslims were expelled from Mecca and forced to emigrate to Medina, that it emerged. The hijra is Islam's decisive moment, when it was born in the Muslim consciousness – it is Year Zero in the Muslim calendar. Thus, the birth of Islam is inevitably linked with rejection, persecution, and oppression, and provides the religious backdrop against which Muslims interpret their situation in the world today. Muslims in general, but especially Muslims in the West, perceive themselves as living in a world hostile to them. The destitution and humiliation of early Islam in Mecca are easily extrapolated to our time – as is early Islam's response – jihad.

It is no coincidence that 622 C.E. was also the year that the first of the jihad verses in the Quran, 22:39-40, was revealed.[74] It reads: "Permission (to fight) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly only because they said: 'Our Lord is Allah.'" In other words, jihad is seen not only as rightful retribution for injustice, but as Allah's way of empowering the believers by granting them victory against their oppressors. In this way, the weak become the strong, the slaves become the masters, and the oppressed become the upper class. Thus, it is no surprise that the persecution of the early Muslims are viewed with pride by the Muslim community; that era is proof that the subsequent Islamic conquests could only have been achieved with God's support for the Muslims. In fact, scholars often note that for Muslims "the conquests constitute the miracle from God attesting to the veracity of the revelation of Islam."[75]

Shi'a Ideology

The Shi'a take this culture of victimhood and empowerment even further. Shi'a Islam is based on the belief that relatives of the Prophet Muhammad should have succeeded him as the leaders of the Muslim community, instead of his companions, as the Sunnis believe. According to Shi'a belief, before the Prophet Muhammad died he named Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, as his immediate successor. Nevertheless, this right was stolen away from Ali in favor of the companions of the Prophet, who became Caliphs before him. Eventually, the supporters of the companions (i.e. the Sunnis) allegedly also killed the entire family of the Prophet at the Battle of Karbala, an event forming the basis for the Shi'a hatred of the Sunnis.

On that day, October 10, 680 CE (10 Muharram 61 AH) the Umayyad soldiers killed Ali's son and successor Hussein,[76] together with the rest of the family of the Prophet, except for one survivor. The event holds the same significance in the Shi'a consciousness as Jesus' death in Christianity, except that instead of cleansing the world of sin, Shi'ites consider Hussein's death as having brought sin into the world. According to Shi'ism, the only way this sin can be atoned for is by suffering for Hussein, so to this very day, Shi'ites commemorate Hussein's death (known as the Ta'ziyah) by taking to the streets and beating and cutting themselves until they draw blood. Sometimes the Ta'ziyah in Iran can reach a point in which people ecstatically kill themselves.

Eventually, Hussein's one surviving son continued the lineage of spiritual and political successors of Prophet Muhammad. According to Twelver Shi'ism,[77] the 12 divinely ordained successors of the Prophet, or Imams, were all martyred in one form or another at the hands of Sunnis, until in 945 CE the 12th Imam went into occultation. According to Shi'ism, this figure (also known as the Mahdi) is still alive and will one day come to fight for the Shi'ites against the forces of evil (i.e. the West and the Sunnis) and establish Islam in the rest of the world. In fact, the power of the Ayatollahs in Iran comes from the popular belief that the Shi'ite political leadership is in contact with the Mahdi. Hence, Shi'ite messianic expectations are the true driving force behind Iran's Islamic regime.[78]  

As Moshe Sharon notes, what moves the Iranian government today is first and foremost the wish to bring about the Shi'ite Messiah. Nevertheless, since the Mahdi is so long in coming – and the Shi'ites have begun to suspect that he will not come into this world without an Armageddonthe Iranian regime has developed the idea that in order to bring the Mahdi, they must cause this cataclysmic event themselves. In Sharon's view, this is why the Iranian regime seeks nuclear weapons. To illustrate the seriousness of this belief, Sharon has noted that before he was president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as Tehran mayor, "spent about $6 million to build a royal entrance so that the Mahdi could enter Tehran in a very respectable way." For Sharon, this is evidence that "they are not just talking abstractly."[79]

Unfortunately, these matters are never spoken about in media. No attention is ever paid to the fact that in Islam there is no difference between politics and religion,[80] nor to the fact that Iran is a Shi'ite regime, not a Sunni regime, or that its politics are subordinated to its eschatological expectations.

Annex 2: Colombian Foreign Policy: The Magnitude Of The Current Political Shift – Background

Colombia's foreign policy can be described by the dichotomy of respice polum vs. respice similia. Respice polum, or "looking to the North Star," was a term coined by former Colombian president Marco Fidel Suarez (1918-1921) for his policy of automatic alignment with Washington in almost all matters of foreign policy and international matters. In time, however, this paradigm solidified into a proper doctrine, and from the beginning of the Cold War until the present day, it has constituted Colombia's foreign policy governing principle.

Only one Colombian administration has ever departed from this model – that of Alfonso López Michelsen (1974-1978). Michelsen insisted on the urgency and viability of turning Colombia's attention towards its neighbors, including those with whom it had no prior relations despite a shared border – such as Venezuela and Ecuador, as well as Cuba and the Caribbean islands. He thus coined the term of respice similia, or "looking to peers," for his alternative doctrine of turning away from Washington and adopting a more active international policy with respect to other Latin American countries in particular and the third world in general. It was during Michelsen's government that Colombia also established diplomatic relations with Iran, on April 28, 1975.

Despite this short hiatus in the respice polum model, Colombia's 200-year uninterrupted diplomatic history with the U.S. has led the two countries to build one of the strongest alliances in the hemisphere. In fact, the extent of Colombia's cooperation with the U.S. has often earned Colombia the title of "the Israel of Latin America,"[81] and has even led the U.S. to designate it as a "major non-NATO ally."[82]

The U.S. and Colombia strategic relationship has only grown stronger during the last four Colombian administrations. Gustavo Petro's electoral win will likely bring a rupture of the historic U.S. -Colombia friendship.

Annex 3: HispanTV's Defamation Campaign Against Previous Colombian Administrations  

Iran has found open doors in Latin American countries with left-wing governments and closed doors in countries like Colombia, which historically have had right-wing administrations and are allies of the U.S. In this particular case, given that Petro's predecessor, Ivan Duque (2018-2022), had pledged to cooperate with Israeli intelligence and provide diplomatic support to the Jewish state in its fight against Iran's nuclear program, Iran perceived Duque as a pro-Israel Zionist agent and considered his policy a major setback for its projects in the region. When Colombia began experiencing popular unrest during Duque's administration, in May 2021, Iran saw an opportunity to topple his government and install a left-wing government in its place.

At that time, Iran launched a defamation campaign against Duque via HispanTV. The campaign sought to cast traditional power struggles in Colombia as part of a larger conspiracy by the country's government, in collusion with the U.S. and Israel – to oppress the working classes, take over natural resources, control the market, and politically dominate the nation.

HispanTV's defamatory posts against Duque continued throughout the 2022 Colombian presidential campaign, with the addition of articles in support of Gustavo Petro and against his rivals during the election period. The outlet then enthusiastically celebrated his victory, but this was not the end of HispanTV campaign against Duque, which has continued since then. The following section provides just a small sample of HispanTV's defamatory posts against Duque during and after the 2022 presidential campaign.

On July 3, 2022, HispanTV posted on Instagram about Venezuelan President Maduro's accusation that Duque sought "revenge" on Venezuela before leaving office. According to HispanTV, during his promotion of 15,150 Venezuelan soldiers, Maduro had said of Duque: "In his impotence, in his hatred and in his defeat, Iván Duque wants to take revenge on Venezuela, so keep your guard up." HispanTV also stated that Maduro had warned the Venezuelan army that Duque was planning "terrorist attacks" on senior officials and key facilities in Venezuela.

HispanTV posts on Instagram about Maduro's accusations about Duque, July 3, 2022 (

Similarly, on July 12, 2022, HispanTV posted to its Instagram account an accusation by a FARC offshoot, Segunda Marquetalia,  that Duque had exported mercenaries to kill world leaders. In the post, HispanTV detailed how, according to Duque and his government had "dedicated themselves to exporting mercenaries to kill leaders in different parts of the world, as happened in 2021 with the assassination of the president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse." HispanTV then asserted that Duque was "one of the most ineffective presidents of Colombia," and that during his mandate "more than 700 social leaders were murdered." It concluded that "Iván Duque leaves the presidency as one of the most unpopular, with more than 70% of Colombians disapproving of his governmental performance."

HispanTV Instagram posts on accusations by Segunda Marquetalia, July 12, 2022

On July 21, 2022, HispanTV posted again on Instagram, this time about the new left-majority Colombian Congress's "booing" of Duque for allegedly lying about his governmental policies. It said that Petro's party, Historic Pact, now dominated Congress with 20 seats and 67 allies, forming a center-left majority Congress for the first time in history. Adding that during his speech marking the new Congress's inauguration, Duque had been "booed" by some Congressmen who had stood up to accuse him of being a liar, HispanTV triumphantly declared the day as "historic."

HispanTV Instagram posts, July 21, 2022 (

In an article posted July 24, HispanTV highlighted Duque's acknowledgement of his unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Maduro. According to HispanTV, in his final speech to Congress, Duque had promised to continue fighting to "defend democracy in Venezuela," despite not being president anymore. HispanTV's Instagram caption read, "During his last speech as president before the Colombian Congress, the right-wing Duque said that he did not need to be head of state to 'defend democracy in Venezuela,' and affirmed that although he had done the impossible to remove the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, he did not succeed in his goal... He also criticized his successor Gustavo Petro for the idea of reestablishing ties with Venezuela and... promised to continue fighting against the ideology of Hugo Chavez."

HispanTV Instagram posts on Duque's acknowledgement that he had attempted to have Maduro removed, July 24, 2022 (

On occasion, HispanTV has reiterated the messages defaming Duque when highlighting events it considers "the most important of the week." For instance, on July 17, 2022, it repeated its news on the FARC offshoot Segunda Marquetalia's accusation that Duque had exported mercenaries to kill world leaders. Likewise, on July 24, HispanTV repeated its news of the Congress's booing of Duque.

HispanTV repeats defamations of Duque on July 17, 2022  ( and July 24 , 2022 (, July 28, 2022.

Annex 4: Analysis Of The Ideological Affinity Among Petro, Chavez, And Maduro

Petro is known to greatly admire the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, whom he respected as a great Latin American leader. On March 5, 2013, the day Chavez died, Petro praised Maduro, writing, "You lived in the times of Chavez and maybe thought he was a clown. You fooled yourself. You lived in the times of a great Latin American leader." Later that day, Petro tweeted about Chavez's "humility" and revolutionary ideals which he said were similar to those of the militant group to which he himself had once belonged, the M-19. He wrote: "What surprised me about that humble, young and rebellious Chavez of 1994? His resemblance to Bateman, Torrijos, the M19."

Petro's tweets on the day of Chavez's death (, March 5, 2013)

In a 2018 interview, Petro argued that Chávez had "respected the media" during his administration and had therefore not been "a dictator."[83] Likewise, in 2020, he tweeted sarcastically, in response to accusations in the U.S. that that year's presidential election had been manipulated in a plan concocted by Chavez[84]: "Before he died, Chavez realized that Trump was going to be president and managed to make the plan to overthrow him in his re-election, eight years after his [Chavez] death... A truly stupid far right."

Petro's praise for Chavez in 2018 and his response to accusations of Chavez's interference in the U.S. 2020 presidential election (,
April 1, 2018;, November 19, 2020)

Nevertheless, Petro disagreed with Chavez on some key issues, such as the lack of diversification in the Venezuelan economy. He tweeted during his 2022 electoral campaign: "Chávez and Maduro led Venezuela to depend on oil. I propose that Colombia depend on agriculture and tourism, based upon expertise."

Petro tweet about diversifying the Venezuelan economy (, May 23, 2022)

Maduro's brutal repression of the opposition in Venezuela led Petro to acknowledge that he is a "totalitarian" leader, and to say that "It is a dictatorship that has curtailed pluralism"; he also highlighted Maduro's "inability" to solve Venezuela's problems.[85]

As a result of the issues with Maduro highlighted by Petro, some leftist Latin American leaders, such as Chile's Gabriel Boric and Peru's Petro Castillo, have distanced themselves from the Venezuelan administration; in response, Maduro has branded the new wave of the leftist Latin American leaders "cowardly": "It is a cowardly left against imperialism, against the oligarchies. They want to put on a varnish so that the oligarchies forgive them and the worst of all is that they are not going to forgive them, none of them," he said in February 2022. Although Maduro did not directly allude to Petro, the latter, at the time a candidate responded: "I suggest Maduro stop his insults. Cowards are those who do not embrace democracy. Get Venezuela out of oil, take it to the deepest democracy, [and] if you have to step aside, do it."[86]

Petro tweet about Maduro (, February 12, 2022)

Despite the above, Maduro enthusiastically congratulated Maduro on his election, and has proposed, in addition to reopening the border with Venezuela and reestablishing diplomatic relations with it, that a "large economic, commercial and productive zone" be established in the provinces in which trade between the two countries is most developed.[87]

Annex 5: Iran's Awareness Of Petro's Potential To Become The Next Leading Figure In Latin America

As soon as Petro's presidential win was announced, his Twitter account was flooded with congratulatory messages from current and former Latin American leaders. The fervor of the congratulations was unprecedented, indicating that Petro had already had a sizable impact among Latin American political leaders before serving a single day in office. The fact that the presidents of Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, and Brazil all expressed delight at Petro's triumph was not missed by HispanTV, which has published numerous articles focusing on highlighting Petro's potential to become the next foremost Latin American leader.

A June 20 HispanTV article stressed Latin American leaders' enthusiasm about Petro's win, focusing on their depiction of it as "historic" or "a miracle" and their optimism about the potential of social transformation for the country historically exclusively dominated by right-wing parties. For example, it noted that Venezuela President Maduro had called Petro's win "historic" and had commended the Colombian people for "com[ing] out to defend the path of democracy and peace."

On June 19, Maduro had tweeted: "I congratulate Gustavo Petro and [his vice president] Francia Marquez on their historic victory in the Presidential elections in Colombia. The will of the Colombian people, who came out to defend the path of democracy and peace, was heard. New times are in sight for this brother country."

It also noted Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez's recognition of the triumph as an "historic popular victory"; on June 19, Bermudez had tweeted: "I express my most fraternal congratulations to Gustavo Petro @petrogustavo for his election as President of Colombia in a historic popular victory. We reiterate our willingness to advance in the development of bilateral relations for the well-being of our peoples."

Congratulatory tweets by Maduro and Diaz-Canel (, June 19, 2022)

HispanTV also highlighted Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador's description of Petro's victory as a return to the times of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the Colombian leftist presidential candidate whose assassination in 1948 led to an outbreak of violence in the country that continued intermittently for decades. López cited Petro's triumph as "the end of that curse and the dawn for that brotherly and worthy people." He tweeted, on June 19: "Gustavo Petro's triumph is historic. Colombia's conservatives have always been tenacious and tough. The writer José María Vargas Vila recounted that the dictators of his country 'dipped their daggers in holy water before killing.' In 1948, that same event [the advent of a leftist leader] caused the assassination of the great liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. The people, inflamed by the crime, destroyed all the public buildings in Bogotá and there were thousands of deaths, in a spontaneous and cruel popular revolution.  Gabriel García Márquez wrote that his friend Wilfrido Mathieu warned him of what had happened and said: 'This country is screwed.' Today's triumph may be the end of that curse and the dawn for that brotherly and worthy people. Congratulations."

Obrador's tweets congratulating Petro (, June 19, 2022)

Similarly, Chilean President Gabriel Boric called Petro's win "a joy for Latin America" and expressed his desire to work jointly with him "for the unity of the continent vis-à-vis the challenges of a rapidly changing world." He tweeted on June 19: "I just spoke with @petrogustavo to congratulate him on his victory in the presidency of Colombia together with @FranciaMarquezM. Joy for Latin America! We will work together for the unity of our continent in the challenges of a rapidly changing world. We continue!"

Boric's tweet congratulating Petro (, June 19, 2022)

HispanTV also emphasized Argentinean President Alberto Fernández's statement that Petro's victory had "filled him with joy." He had tweeted on June 19: "I am delighted with the victory obtained by @petrogustavo and @FranciaMarquezM with which the electoral process in Colombia culminates. I have just conveyed to the president-elect my congratulations for the trust that the Colombian people have placed on him." He also tweeted: "[Petro's] victory validates democracy and ensures the path towards an integrated Latin America and maximum solidarity among brother peoples, which the times demand."

Fernandez's tweets congratulating Petro (, June 19, 2022;, June 19, 2022)

Other Latin American leaders mentioned by HispanTV as congratulating support for Petro and his win included Honduras's Xiomara Castro, Peru's Pedro Castillo,  and Bolivia's Luis Arce. Castillo called Petro's success "historic" and "democratic," writing: "I just called @petrogustavo to congratulate him on his historic democratic victory in Colombia. We are united by a common feeling that seeks collective, social and regional integration improvements for our peoples. Brother Gustavo, always count on the support of Peru."

Castillo's tweet congratulating Petro (, June 19, 2022)

Bolivian President Luis Arce tweeted: "It was about time! Congratulations for the Colombian people! Our congratulations to brother @petrogustavo and sister @FranciaMarquezM for their victory at the polls today. Latin American integration is strengthened. We join the party of the Colombians. Jallalla #Colombia!"

Arce's tweet congratulating Petro (, June 19, 2022)

HispanTV also noted that former presidents of Brazil and Bolivia had also joined the outpouring of congratulations for Petro. On June 19, 2022, former Brazilian president Lula da Silva tweeted:  "I warmly congratulate the companions @petrogustavo, @FranciaMarquezM and all the Colombians for the important victory in the elections since Sunday. I wish success to Petro in his government. His victory strengthens democracy and progressive forces in Latin America."

Lula Da Silva's tweet congratulating Petro, retweeted by Petro, June 19, 2022. (, June 19, 2022)

Former Bolivian president Evo Morales called Petro's victory one of "peace, truth and dignity."

Morales's tweet congratulating Petro (, June 19, 2022)

HispanTV also highlighted the reaction of Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro, who called the Colombian presidential election "exemplary" and added that the OAS had vowed to "work together for democracy, human rights, security, and development." [88]

On June 22, HispanTV posted on its Instagram account a photo of former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa along with his reaction to Petro's election. It stated: "Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa considers Petro's victory in Colombian elections 'a miracle' in the history of this country. 'It's something miraculous, I think, not only that the left, [but] an ex-guerrilla, has won the way Gustavo Petro won,' Correa said in remarks given Tuesday to the Russian news agency RT. The former president of Ecuador also pointed out that Colombia had not had a leftist president in its history. In this context, he referred to the government of Ernesto Samper in the 1990s as "the closest thing to the left" in this country."

HispanTV Instagram post about Correa's reaction to Petro's election (, June 22, 2022)

Previously, on June 19, HispanTV had highlighted Correa's response on Twitter: "Latin America partying: Gustavo Petro the new president of Colombia. Long live Colombia! Long live the Great Country! Until victory always!"

Correa's tweet congratulating Petro (, June 19, 2022)

An article posted July 30, 2022 by HispanTV highlighted a recent meeting between Argentinean President Fernandez and Colombian Vice President Marquez. It emphasized Fernandez's praise of Petro and his statement that "Our struggles bring us together: against racism, gender discrimination and climate change. [Marquez'] vision, together with that of Gustavo Petro, is what Colombia and Latin America need."[89]

Another article posted on July 27, 2022 by HispanTV celebrated Marquez' meeting with Iran's favorite[90] Brazilian presidential candidate Lula da Silva. HispanTV's post read, "Zero Hunger in Latam!: Lula and Francia Márquez meet in Brazil." Post 2: "Today I was with the elected vice president of Colombia, talking about South America and the fight against hunger and racism in our countries." – Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. Favorite to win the Presidency of Brazil." Post 3: Gustavo Petro's right-hand man began a regional tour on Tuesday with a visit to Lula and will continue his tour in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia."

Fernandez's tweet about his meeting with Marquez and the shared Colombian-Argentinean struggle "against racism, gender discrimination, and climate change" that was highlighted by HispanTV (, July 29, 2022)

HispanTV also hailed Lula's meeting with Marquez.[91]

Other leaders who expressed their congratulations but who were not mentioned by HispanTV included former Argentinian president and current Vice President Cristina Kirchner and former Brazilian president Dilma Roussef. On June 19, 2022, Kirchner had tweeted her congratulations: "At 7:50 p.m. we landed at Aeroparque and when I turned on my phone I received more than 30 messages from colleagues who happily informed me the triumph of the Historic Pact coalition in the Colombian ballot. I called the newly elected president and almost instantly I hear his voice: Hello President..." The same day, Rousseff had tweeted: "The historic triumph of the comrades @petrogustavo and @FranciaMarquezM is a great victory for the brave Colombian people and a renewed hope for all the nations of Latin America who fight for democracy and against neoliberalism. #VivaColombia."

*Emmanuel Cadieux is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.


[1] See MEMRI Daily Brief No. 291. Iran's Hardy Spanish Media Mole, June 30, 2021.

[2] Due to HispanTV's frequent dissemination of false information and conspiracy theories, its channels have been closed by Facebook and google on multiple occasions. Nevertheless, HispanTV continues to create alternative pages such as "HispanTV Asia Occidental," "HispanTV América Latina" and "Nexo Latino," among others, through which continue to diffuse its propagandistic content.;; (11K followers at the time of writing);,(18K followers); followers); (126K followers); (19K followers); (8K followers); Twitter was suspended in 2020.'s-hispan-tv. For a more thorough analysis of HispanTV's history, see MEMRI Daily Brief No. 291, Iran's Hardy Spanish Media Mole, June 30, 2021. See also (53.6 K followers).

[3] All other channels have been suspended.

[4]; followers); (4.3K followers); (46.1K followers); (14.1K subscribers).

[5]; (684.5K followers); (15K followers);, (4.2K followers).

[6], "HispanTV: Iran's Attempts To Influence The Spanish Speaking World," April 19, 2020.

[7], January 13, 2017;, January 17, 2019;, August 10, 2019;, November 7, 2020;, July 10, 2021;, May 14, 2022;, May 16, 2022;, May 18, 2022.

[8], August 6, 2021;, August 9, 2021;, September 1, 2021;, December 30, 2021;, January 5, 2022;, January 10, 2022;, January 25, 2022;, March 15, 2022;, May 6, 2022;, May 6, 2022;, June 26, 2022;, July 3, 2022.

[9], September 25, 2021., January 21, 2022;, October 9, 2021;, May 24, 2022;, June 10, 2022;, June 11, 2022;, July 10, 2022;, July 31, 2022.

[10] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1517, The Organization For The Liberation Of Argentina (OLA) – Building Support For The Iranian Regime And Hizbullah, July 1, 2020; MEMRI JTTM report Brazilian Shi'ite Cleric Rodrigo Jalloul Supports Iranian Regime, Disseminates Its Ideology In Brazil – And Recently Announced Intention To Run For São Paulo City Councilor, September 1, 2020. Another example is Marlon Cantillo, former Director of the Iranian cultural center Casa Cultural Islámica Ahlul Bayt in Bogota, who ran for the Colombian senate in 2022. Cantillo, who goes by the pseudonym "Ibrahim Hussein," studied at Al-Mustafa International University in Qom, Iran, an institution widely known as one of the regime's main instruments for the indoctrination of foreign clerics.;;; For his proposals see:, El Espectador, February 4, 2022.

[11], September 7, 2009;, "'Die Welt': Iran Building Rocket Bases In Venezuela", May, 17, 2011.

[12], May 23, 2022.

[13], June 16, 2013.

[14], "Balance Plan Colombia 1999 – 2005," September 2006.

[15], August 3, 2009.

[16], BBC Mundo, February 5, 2016.

[17], May 23, 2022.

[18] Between 2015 and 2022, HispanTV wrote approximately 120 articles criticizing "Plan Colombia." The articles have been compiled in a special HispanTV section dedicated solely to this topic:

[19], August 25, 2020.

[20], November 16, 2020;, February 11, 2017.

[21], January 30, 2019;, June 4, 2020;, January 25, 2019.

[22], June 20, 2022.

[23], March 10, 2022.

[24], May, 17, 2011.

[25], June 22, 2022.

[26] See for instance the following articles:, July 1,2022;,  July 8, 2022.

[27], August 7, 2022.

[28], August 7, 2022.

[29], August 8, 2022

[30], August 7, 2022.

[31], El País, February 7, 2019., La Tercera, February 13, 2019.

[32], February 23, 2019;, February 23, 2019.

[33], February 23, 2019;, February 23, 2019.

[34], June 20, 2022.

[35], November 14, 2021.

[36], Caracol Radio, November 8, 2021.

[37], November 8, 2021.

[38], November 14, 2021.

[39], November 14, 2021.

[40], August 7, 2022.

[41], October 9, 2021.

[42], October 9, 2021.

[43], HispanTV. June 21, 2022.

[44]é-dijo-Gustavo-Petro-tras-el-asesinato-del-General-Soleimani, June 21, 2022.

[45] As stated by the organization, the cultural center's goal is twofold: 1) To introduce Islamic Iranian culture and identity to the international community both inside and outside the country, and 2) To introduce the culture, art and literature of different nations to Iranian society., Instagram: nam_institut Telegram: nam_institut.

[46], November 26, 2021.

[47]For more information, see, March 02, 2022.

[48], August 11, 2022.

[49], August 14, 2022.

[50], "Venezuela, dispuesta a renovar relaciones con la Colombia de Petro", HispanTV. June 20, 2022.

[51], HispanTV. July 17, 2022.

[52], July 28, 2022.

[53], July 29, 2022

[54], August 15, 2022., August 13, 2022., August 13, 2022., August 13,  2022;, August 10,  2022;, August 9,  2022;, August 8,  2022;, August 7,  2022;, August 7, 2022., August 2, 2022., July 31, 2022., July 29, 2022., June 20,  2022;, June 20, 2022.  

[55], May 17, 2022.

[56], "June 21, 2022

[57], July 6, 2022.

[58], August 17, 2022.

[59], July 1, 2022.

[60], August 19, 2022., July 6, 2022., August 12, 2022., 17 August, 2022., August 19, 2022., July 30, 2022.

[61], "This is how Shaykh Mohsen Ali defended terrorist organizations like Hizbullah," JAI TV, May 10, 2019.

[62], September 29, 2016.

[64], September 6, 2021.

[65], August 23, 2021;, September 6, 2021.

[66], January 3, 2022;, August 23, 2021;, September, 6, 2021.

[67], June 6, 2022;, "September 6, 2021;, September 6, 2021.

[68], May, 24, 2021;, May 23, 2022.

[69], May, 24, 2021;, May 23, 2022.

[70], June 21, 2022.

[71], June 21, 2022., February 11, 2017

[72] Moshe Sharon is a world-renowned expert on Islam often considered to be Israel's greatest Middle East scholar.

[73],7340,L-3304024,00.html, February 1, 2008;, May 3, 2017.

[74] See the Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Qur'an 2:195 under the title "Permission to fight; this is the first Ayah of Jihad."

[75] Cook, David. Understanding Jihad. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005, p. 12, 181. ISBN: 0520244486

[76] The death of Hussein is more important than the death of Ali because the death of Ali was caused by an extremist from the Khawarij, but the death of Hussein was caused by an army of the state.

[77] The most prominent branch of Shi'a Islam (about 85% of all Shias). There are approximately 150 million to 200 million Twelvers in the world today, comprising the majority of the total populations of Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan.

[78],7340,L-3304024,00.html, February 1, 2008.

[79], May 3, 2017.

In his own words, "they are trying to influence the Mahdi to come, so the best thing is to have a terrible war and tremendous bloodshed to force him to come. The politics of Iran have something of this kind of idea behind them." Moshe Sharon. "Origins and Development of the Shi'a Faith: From Shī'Ah to the Bahá'í Faith," lecture delivered at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, April 2019.

[80] As the Arabic saying goes, Din wa daulat ta'aman, "State and religion are twins."

[81], June 16, 2013.

[82], May 23, 2022.

[83], March 31, 2018.

[84], November 19, 2020.

[85], "Gustavo Petro: Hugo Chávez respetó a los medios de comunicación, no fue un dictador," VPItv, March 31, 2018.

[86], "Petro arremete contra Maduro por llamarlo "cobarde," El Universal, February 12, 2022.

[87], August 24, 2022.

[88], June 20, 2022.

[89], July 30, 2022.

[90] For posts revealing's Iran's desire for Lula to be the next Brazilian president, see:, July 25, 2022;, July 26, 2022;, July 27, 2022;, July 19, 2022;, July 1, 2022;, June 23, 2022.

[91], July 27, 2022.

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