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US Sanctions Captains of Five Iranian Ships that Delivered Fuel to Venezuela

US Sanctions Captains of Five Iranian Ships that Delivered Fuel to Venezuela
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By Staff, Agencies

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that the Trump administration was imposing sanctions on five Iranian ship captains who had delivered gasoline to Venezuela.

Speaking to reporters, Pompeo also said the United States continues to support Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido. Meanwhile, Washington seeks the ouster of legitimate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and most other Western governments have recognized Guaido as the ‘legitimate’ leader of the OPEC nation.

According to a report by the National, “These captains, who led five Iranian flagged tankers — Clavel, Petunia, Fortune, Forest and Faxon — delivered gasoline and gasoline components to Venezuela, and are now added to OFAC’s Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List [SDN List],” the US Treasury Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

The sanctions come as Iran supplied 1.5 million barrels of fuel to Venezuela last month amid a collapse of refinery operations and tightening sanctions by the United States that has made it more difficult for Venezuela to obtain fuel on international markets.

All of the five vessels reached Venezuela under military escort in defiance of draconian American sanctions targeting both Iran and Venezuela.

Iran’s fuel shipments drew the ire of the US. American officials said Washington was considering responses to Iran’s move, prompting Tehran to warn of retaliatory measures if the US causes any problem for the Venezuela-bound tankers.

The United States then threatened stiff sanctions against foreign governments, shipping firms, seaports, and insurers if they aid the Iranian tankers.

The US has already imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic Shipping Lines [IRSL] and the National Iranian Tanker Company [NITC].

In a post on its website on Tuesday, the US military’s Southern Command said the guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze had sailed in an area outside Venezuela’s territorial waters in what it claimed a “freedom of navigation operation.”

It further alleged that the operation took place within the area the Venezuelan government “falsely claims to have control over.”

However, there was no indication of any confrontation.

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