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Jul 31, 2012 6:47 PM by Matt Stafford

Top US general: Venezuela not a threat

LIMA, Peru (AP) - The Air Force general responsible for U.S. military operations in most of Latin America says he doesn't consider Venezuela to pose a national security threat to the United States.

Gen. Douglas Fraser says he doesn't see President Hugo Chavez's ongoing arms purchases and deepening ties with Iran in their current form as a threat to U.S. security.

The chief of the U.S. Southern Command said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that he views Venezuela's purchases of missiles and other armaments from Russia as primarily defensive in nature.

Fraser said he considers Iran's connection with Venezuela to still be primarily diplomatic and economic.

His comments echo a statement earlier this month by U.S. President Barack Obama.

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