Intelligence Cooperation

Venezuelan-Iranian intelligence cooperation has been coordinated at the highest levels of government. In 2012, President Ahmadinejad and top IRGC officials met with Venezuelan military and security officials, with the goal of setting up a joint intelligence program. A Pro Publica report cited “western intelligence officials” as saying that, at this secret meeting, Venezuelan security officials agreed to provide arms, travel documents, bank accounts, and support the necessary movement of operatives and equipment from Iran to Venezuela towards these ends. The Western official said the intelligence apparatus would obscure the IRGC’s role in criminal activities.

Iran has also sought to improve its intelligence-collection capabilities based out of Venezuela. In 2020, the Venezuelan opposition warned that Tehran might be assisting Maduro in setting up a listening post in northern Venezuela for intercepting aerial and maritime communications. They alleged that the increasingly frequent oil shipments could be used to conceal the necessary technology. Iran’s access to valuable signals intelligence vis-á-vis the U.S. would improve its visibility into U.S. operations designed to prevent Iran’s movement of sensitive material, weapons, and personnel.