The United States sanctioned the captains of five Iranian vessels today for delivering oil to Venezuela.
“Iran’s continued support to Venezuela is yet another instance of Iran wasting its people’s resources on ill-conceived foreign adventurism that prolongs suffering abroad,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
The Treasury Department said the five Iranian tankers delivered 1.5 million barrels of “gasoline and gasoline components to Venezuela” last month.
Why it matters: Broad US sanctions against Iran’s energy sector are a major component of President Donald Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against Tehran. Additionally, the United States maintains stringent sanctions on Venezuela, going so far as to declare opposition politician Juan Guaido as the country’s president instead of the UN-recognized Nicolas Maduro government.
The US Navy conducted a freedom of navigation operation near the Venezuelan coast earlier this week after another Iranian ship arrived carrying food. Iran also dispatched a flight carrying humanitarian aid to Venezuela earlier this month.
What’s next: Pompeo has also called on the international community to stop flights from Iran’s Mahan Air, also subject to US sanctions, from reaching Venezuela.
Know more: Alireza Noori examines how Iran’s new conservative parliament will affect its foreign policy.