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Testimonies by Emanuele Ottolenghi

April 2018

State Sponsors of Terrorism: An Examination of Iran’s Global Terrorism Network

Since its establishment, the Islamic Republic of Iran has viewed Latin America as a fertile ground for the export of its revolution. Tehran wants the Western Hemisphere to become a hotbed of anti-Americanism and a forward operating base for Iran. To this end, over nearly four decades, Tehran has built a network of mosques and cultural centers across the region. It aggressively expanded its base of supporters and sympathizers by dispatching itinerant preachers, who have successfully converted and radicalized thousands of Latin Americans to Iran’s version of Shi’a Islam. Iran has also helped Hezbollah establish itself as the dominant force among expatriate Shi’a Lebanese communities in the region. Hezbollah clerics and emissaries have taken control of their religious and communal institutions such as mosques, schools, cultural associations, and youth movements.

November 2017

Examining the Effectiveness of the Kingpin Designation Act in the Western Hemisphere

In 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) indicted Ayman Saied Joumaa, a Lebanese-Colombian dual national whose global network of companies operating out of Latin America, West Africa, and Lebanon laundered money for Mexican and Colombian cartels to the tune of $200 million a month of drug proceeds.  Joumaa worked with Hezbollah as the kingpin in one of many networks Hezbollah runs globally to sustain its financial needs. When his case came to light, the New York Times quoted a DEA official as saying that Hezbollah operated like “the Gambinos on steroids.”

May 2017

Emerging External Influences in the Western Hemisphere

Across the Western Hemisphere, Islamic terror networks are expanding their influence by increasingly cooperating with violent drug cartels, often with the assistance of corrupt political elites. This toxic nexus is fueling both the rising threat of global jihadism and the collapse of law and order across Latin America that is helping drive drugs and people northward into the United States.

April 2017

Increasing the Effectiveness of Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was implemented in January 2016 has emboldened Iran and given its leaders additional resources to pursue their regional hegemonic ambitions. In theory, under the JCPOA, the United States retains both the authority and leverage to counter Iran’s regional ambitions and ongoing support for terrorism, including through the use of non-nuclear sanctions. In practice, however, since the implementation of the JCPOA, this arsenal has been rarely used.

June 2016

The Enemy in our Backyard: Examining Terror Funding Streams from South America

Chairman Fitzpatrick, Vice Chairman Pittenger, ranking member Lynch, members of the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, on behalf of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, I thank you for the opportunity to testify.

February 2016

The Role of Iranian Dual Nationals in Sanctions Evasion

Chairmen DeSantis and Meadows, ranking members Lynch and Connolly, members of the committee, on behalf of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, I thank you for the opportunity to testify.

January 2016

Missouri State Senate Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and Local Government

Chairman Schmitt, members of the Senate Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government, on behalf of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, I thank you for the opportunity to testify.

September 2015

The Iran Deal and its Impact on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Deutch, members of the committee, on behalf of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, I thank you for the opportunity to testify.This testimony will focus on the impact of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its dominant position in Iran’s economy.

December 2012

Iranian Influence in the South Caucasus and the Surrounding Region

Both the Caucasus and Central Asia are Iran’s traditional backyards. Historically, the Persian Empire competed for influence over both areas with the other two erstwhile empires – Czarist Russia and Ottoman Turkey. Today, the South Caucasus remains a transit point for commercial routes – straddling the middle ground between Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the East and well-positioned on the old Silk Route.

April 2012

Human Rights Situation in Iran

For a number of years now, the international community has understandably sought to persuade the Islamic Republic of Iran to comply with its international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Within the context of these negotiations, the UN Security Council has adopted six Chapter VII Resolutions condemning Iran’s refusal to abide by its responsibilities under the Treaty, including four resolutions introducing sanctions against the regime’s proliferating efforts and a number of its senior military leaders and nuclear scientists.

November 2011

Common Threats, Different Approaches

Israel, the EU and the U.S. confront the challenge of a nuclear Iran