US announces ‘UN’ sanctions on Iran and Venezuela’s Maduro

The United States says it is imposing sanctions on Iran’s defense ministry and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro under a UN authority which is widely contested.

“For nearly two years corrupt officials in Tehran have worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells reporters. “Our actions today are a warning that should be heard worldwide.”

Pompeo says US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order “that is a new and powerful tool to enforce the UN arms embargo.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during the third annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue at the State Department in Washington, DC on September 14, 2020. (ERIN SCOTT / POOL / AFP)

The Trump administration argues that it is enforcing a UN arms embargo that Iran has violated, including through an attack on Saudi oil facilities. But it is using a UN resolution that blessed a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran negotiated by former president Barack Obama, but which Trump pulled out of.

The legal argument has been rejected by virtually all nations on the UN Security Council, including US allies.


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