The United States has warned that it will destroy any potential shipment of Iranian long-range missiles bound for Venezuela, writes Fox News.
"The transfer of long-range missiles from Iran to Venezuela is not acceptable to the United States and will not be tolerated or permitted," Elliott Abrams, the State Department Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela, was quoted as saying.
While not elaborating whether there was any information pointing to the imminent possibility of such shipments, Abrams claimed that as Iran earlier announced its intention to engage in arms sales, Venezuela was “an obvious target” since the two “pariah regimes already have a relationship".
"Venezuela is paying in gold to buy gasoline from Iran, and there is an Iranian presence in the country. Venezuela’s economy has collapsed, so every bar of gold for Iran is tens of thousands of dollars the Venezuelan people need for food and medicine," said the US representative for Iran.
"We will make every effort to stop shipments of long-range missiles, and if somehow they get to Venezuela they will be eliminated there," a senior administration official was also cited as confirming.
The official claimed that as Iran had shipped missiles to the Houthis, it might potentially be ready to do so for Venezuela and other buyers.
"Every delivery of Iranian arms destabilises South America and the Caribbean, and is especially dangerous to Venezuela’s neighbors in Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana," said the US official.
A senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies was quoted by Fox News as lambasting Iran for allegedly resorting to missiles and terrorism as “key components of security policy”.
“Potential Iranian missile or military shipments to South America will constitute a major test of the administration's arms embargo on Iran. Russia and China will be watching closely to see how Washington responds,” said Behnam Ben Taleblu.
Arms Embargo Lifted
This comes as the United Nations embargo on Iran buying and selling conventional weapons expired on 18 October as presupposed by the country’s nuclear deal with world powers.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in reference to the UN Security Council resolution 2231 that all restrictions on the transfer of arms to Iran had ended. Foreign Minister of Iran Javad Zarif went on Twitter to hail the “momentous day for the international community”, that had protected the JCPOA.
A momentous day for the international community, which— in defiance of malign US efforts—has protected UNSC Res. 2231 and JCPOA.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) October 17, 2020
Today's normalization of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world is a win for the cause of multilateralism and peace and security in our region. pic.twitter.com/sRO6ezu4OO
In 2015, Iran signed the JCPOA with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and the European Union, under which it was required to scale back its nuclear program and downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief.
The deal also included the automatic lifting of an arms embargo five years after its adoption, if no extension or additional measures were taken by the Security Council.
The Trump administration, which withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 citing alleged violations by Tehran, had launched a tough policy of crippling sanctions against the country.
It also unsuccessfully tried to convince the United Nations Security Council to extend the embargo. In May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to "exercise all diplomatic options" to extend the UN ban, while US Special Representative for Iran Bill Hook threatened to issue an automatic snapback of the embargo. However, all of Washington’s proposed resolutions were rejected.