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‘Unilateral US sanctions against Iran, Venezuela no longer effective’

Tehran’s ambassador to Caracas says the sanctions that the United States has imposed on independent countries such as Iran and Venezuela are no longer effective, hailing the Islamic Republic’s fuel shipments to the South American country as a “victory” for the entire international community.

In an interview with Iran’s Arabic-language Alalam television news network on Tuesday, Hojatollah Soltani highlighted the flood of international criticism that was directed at the US over its withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal and restoration of sanctions on Iran, saying even Washington’s own allies opposed the move and tried to find ways to circumvent the bans.

The US also sparked similar objections from Iran and other world countries when it slapped harsh economic sanctions on the Venezuelan nation, he added.

“Unilateral US sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and several other countries have lost their effectiveness and are not as effective as before,” Soltani said.

“The US has been trying to use dollar as leverage to help its own economy flourish and exert pressure on other states, but the countries opposed to the US do not submit to American bullying,” the Iranian envoy added.

Iran has sent five tankers loaded with 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate to Venezuela to help jump start the oil refineries in the Latin American state amid a fuel crisis.

Three of the tankers — Fortune, Forest and Petunia —  have already reached Venezuela under military escort. The two remaining vessels — Faxon and Clavel — are also scheduled to arrive soon.

The fuel shipments have sharply irked the US as the oil sectors of both Iran and Venezuela are subject to draconian American sanctions.

A US official said earlier this month that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering responses, prompting Tehran to warn of retaliatory measures if Washington causes any problem for the tankers.

Elsewhere in his interview, Soltani explained that Iran’s shipment of fuel and raw materials to Venezuela was based on the existing international protocols and maritime law.

The arrival date of Iranian tankers “is a great and historic day for the two nations of Iran and Venezuela, which pursue independent policies and are [thus] under US pressure. It is a victory for the entire international community,” the Iranian envoy said.

“As a violator of international treaties, the United States failed to impose restrictions on these tankers,” he added.

He also rejected Western media reports of the transfer of 9 tons of gold to Iran from Venezuela as absolutely untrue.

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