Reviewed by Penny Watson

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Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America. Edited by Joseph M. Humire and Ilan Berman. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2014. 123 pp. $83 ($39.99, paper).

Humire and Berman’s book highlights the Islamic Republic of Iran’s overlooked presence in the Western Hemisphere since the 1980s, with recent exponential growth of its military, diplomatic, and cultural presence.


Joel Hirst emphasizes the importance of the ALBA alliance (a coalition of several leftist, anti-U.S. regimes) and Iván Witker, that of the Southern Cone. Other authors examine Iran’s involvement in Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina: Jon B. Perdue discusses alliances between Latin American socialist regimes and Iran’s Islamist regime; Humire examines Iran’s past activities in Latin America in order to postulate its future course of action.

In his essay, Berman outlines Iran’s use of these countries to acquire the minerals essential for nuclear weapon development and provides a chilling picture of the potential threat posed by Iran and Latin American counterparts against the United States and its allies. He describes the longevity of the Islamic Republic’s strategy despite leadership changes in both Iran and Latin America.

The authors caution Washington against neglecting its neighbors and allowing Islamic radicalism and Latin American socialism to form a geostrategic alliance that poses a military threat to the United States in its own backyard. Humire and Berman conclude with a strategy to counter ALBA’s regional influence and urge Washington to support regional governments in all arenas.

Penny Watson

Sam Houston State University