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Early last year, Washington cut ties with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and has since ramped up sanctions against the Latin American country over the past two years in an effort to oust the political leader. Venezuela’s ruling socialist party blames the US sanctions for the country’s woes.
Mr Maduro has seen a six-year economic collapse in the once-prosperous nation.
As the relationship continues to grow strained, President Donald Trump has imposed economic restrictions on the socialist leadership for fostering trade ties with Iran.
Now, on Monday, the US announced new sanctions against individuals and entities associated with Tehran.
Mr Trump said: “My administration will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, nor will we allow Iran to endanger the rest of the world with a fresh supply of ballistic missiles and conventional arms.”
These new sanctions will likely impact Venezuela, with US officials claiming they defy the United Nations arms embargo on Iran.
Following the new sanctions, a senior Venezuelan official has condemned the move by Washington claiming the US is the “greatest threat to world peace”.
Venezuelan Vice Minister for North America Carlos Ron told Newsweek: “Venezuela’s trade with Iran and with any other country is done in exercise of our sovereignty and under all legal parameters.
“What the whole world should be concerned about is the complete disregard for International law and, in particular, for the United Nations system that the Trump administration has shown in recent actions.
“The United States is currently the greatest threat to world peace and stability.”
Washington has been seeking an extension of a UN arms embargo against Tehran, under the Trump administration.
This is set to expire in October under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal which the US withdrew from.
The nuclear deal had restricted Iran’s nuclear weapons capability in return for sanctions relief.
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed the nuclear agreement – which is backed by China, France, Russia and the UK as well as Germany – and said it was an “abject failure”.
He said: “It didn’t bring Iran into the community of nations or block Tehran’s path to a nuclear weapon.
“Instead, it was an exercise in appeasement.
“It gifted the regime billions and paved the way for Iran to become the arms dealer of choice for terrorist groups and dictators all across the world in just five short years.”
Following the announcement of the new sanctions, Mr Pompeo boasted the US is keeping the “world citizens safe”.
He tweeted: “Rather than waiting for Iran to threaten the world, the US is taking sweeping actions to prevent the world’s top state sponsor of terror from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“This includes sanctions on 25 entities and individuals.
“We are keeping Americans and the world citizens safe!”
Tensions between the US and Iran have intensified over recent months.
The two countries were on the brink of war back in January after US forces killed Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani during a missile strike in Iraq.
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