U.S. threatens to head off an Iran-Venezuela arms deal

Fox News reports that the Trump administration is doing what it can to stop an arms deal between Iran and Venezuela, and has issued a stern warning to the offending countries. 

The Associated Press reports that last week a decades-long United Nations (U.N.) embargo on Iran came to an end. The embargo had barred Iran from buying and selling conventional military weapons.

The U.N. allowed that embargo to expire despite the objections of the United State’s government.

First warning

Afterward, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, issued a warning to any county that attempts to enter into an arms agreement with Iran.

“The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those who ho provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms,” Pompeo said.

He continued: “For the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various U.N. measures. Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security.”

It’s already happening

Despite the U.S.’s warning, it is being reported that Venezuela and Iran are eyeing an arms deal.

According to the U.S. State Department, “Iran has announced its intention to engage in arms sales, and Venezuela is an obvious target because those two pariah regimes already have a relationship.”

According to administration officials, “Iran has shipped missiles to the Houthis, so we know they are ready, willing, and able to ship them to Venezuela and other possible buyers.

Second warning issued

The Trump administration has expressed its concern that the delivery of weapons from Iran to countries in South America or the Caribbean could destabilize the region.

Accordingly, Elliott Abrams, the State Department’s Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela, said that the United States will do what it can to stop the shipment from Iran to Venezuela. He said:

The transfer of long-range missiles from Iran to Venezuela is not acceptable to the United States and will not be tolerated or permitted. We will make every effort to stop shipments of long-range missiles, and if somehow they get to Venezuela they will be eliminated there.

It remains to be seen whether Iran and Venezuela will proceed nonetheless. The situation can escalate in a hurry.

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