WASHINGTON -- Iran's leaders warn once they're done with Israel, they're coming for America.
The Islamic Republic is already in the Western hemisphere laying the groundwork for that mission.
From Mexico to Brazil, to Ecuador to Bolivia, Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah are establishing a network.
"Wherever Iran goes, Hezbollah is sure to follow," said Jose Cardenas, a former Bush administration official and a current associate for Vision Americas. "Iran has traditionally used Hezbollah as a unit to conduct their dirty work."
And there's lots of it. According to German media reports, Iran has plans to build a missile base in Venezuela.
Still closer to home, Hezbollah has reportedly established ties to Mexican drug cartels along America's porous southern border.
"Hezbollah has been involved in narco-trafficking in the Western hemisphere for a number of years now," Cardenas explained. "But the trade is so lucrative that they have taken every advantage to expand."
Iran has identified Brazil, Latin America's most populous country, as a potential target for recruitment and radicalization.
An Iranian cleric named Mohsen Rabbani is a key figure in Brazil, Argentina and elsewhere, drawing recruits for Hezbollah and spreading Iran's radical Shia ideology across the region.
"There is a pipeline whereby when they find very attractive candidates, they send them for religious training in Iran," Cardenas told CBN News.
"And these are Latin Americans, sent to Iran to the holy city of Qom to get training there," he added. "They come back and then basically they meld into local communities."
For Iran, the goal is simple: have a network in place that can strike directly at America if -- and when -- it's necessary.
CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick talked more about Iran's activities in Latin America on "The 700 Club," Dec. 13.