The following is my latest piece for Al Jazeera.
Were I transcribing the wet dream of US Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – self-appointed bulwark against the alleged Islamo-Bolivarian threat to homeland security – I might describe my arrival to La Paz two weeks ago as follows:
Descending from the city of El Alto into the Bolivian capital, my bus was stopped by a battalion of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
All passengers were required to pledge simultaneous allegiance to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Adolf Hitler, and Evo Morales. Once the Iranians had verified that there were no Jewish businesspeople on board available for kidnapping, the vehicle was allowed to pass.
Our progress was once again interrupted, however, by a parade of Iranian diplomats, whose infestation of Bolivia began when the Islamic Republic made the alarming decision to open embassies in Latin America – something no other country in the world has done. Augmenting the infestation are the more than two dozen Iranian diplomatic offspring who have reportedly been enrolled in the international school in La Paz.
I finally checked into a hostel in the city centre and turned on the television to find that the only available channel was HispanTV, Iran’s new Spanish-language extremist propaganda disseminator.
I turned off the TV, sat back, and waited for the bomb to explode.
The possibility of a bomb in La Paz was raised in December 2011 by Ros-Lehtinen, co-star of a non-factual documentary entitled “La amenaza iraní” (“The Iranian Threat”), in which she insinuates that the US should attack Iran in order to avert bomb explosions in various Latin American capitals. The film was released by Univision, the prominent US broadcast network, which is owned by someone who hosts galas in honour of the Israeli military.
The Iranians meanwhile acquired a new rival in the realm of multilingual extremist propaganda dissemination earlier this month when – as Charles Davis has wryly noted – the Spanish-language Univision re-released its film in English.
Quds Force in disguise
When, after several days in La Paz, Iranian penetration into the Western hemisphere was still not glaringly apparent, I set out for the epicentre of penetrating operations: the embassy of Iran, said to be guarded by the elite Quds Force.
Unable to find the address on the internet, I walked to the office of the Shia Bolivian Islamic Cultural Foundation on Landaeta Street. It was closed for Carnival, however, and I had to extricate myself from the grasp of missionaries in an adjacent office belonging to another entity to which Latin America has shown itself increasingly penetrable: the nutrition and weight-management cult Herbalife.
In the end, I found the embassy thanks to a meeting with a former Bolivian official, during which he happened to mention Evo Morales’ hypocritical authorisation of GMOs in Bolivia after having disapproved of Iranian GMO projects. I took advantage of the opportunity to enquire after the coordinates of Tehran’s mother ship in La Paz; he directed me to the website of the Bolivian Foreign Ministry, which did indeed contain an address – albeit an incorrect one.
My visit to the embassy, located in a house with a yard, revealed that the Quds Force had succeeded in disguising itself as a single Bolivian policeman.
The Bolivian receptionist meanwhile informed me that she was not authorised to divulge the address of the Iranian Red Crescent Society Hospital in the neighbouring city of El Alto, where it was rumoured that female employees were forced to wear the hijab.
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