As reported by the U.S. intelligence apparatus, two ships are crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Iran bound for Venezuela and Cuba to move an arsenal of weapons negotiated with the socialist dictatorships. Pentagon officials are pushing to stop the transaction as a risk to the United States and the entire region.
The Pentagon has warned Venezuela and Cuba to turn away Iranian ships purported to be transporting weapons to Caracas, Venezuela, vowing to take “appropriate measures” to deter the “threat” to the United States and its allies in the West should the shipments reach their destination, NewsMax reported.
According to intelligence reports, two Iranian ships rounded the Cape of Good Hope, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and then headed for Venezuela. The move comes at a tense time in U.S.-Iranian relations over the still undefined nuclear deal.
The two vessels in question are an Iranian frigate and the Makran, a tanker-turned-floating base. According to satellite imagery provided by Maxar Technologies, seven fast attack boats are aboard the Makran’s deck.
According to reports, senior Pentagon officials are pressuring Caracas and Havana through diplomatic channels to block the Iranian ships from docking.
Government officials in neighboring nations have also reportedly been approached to help prevent the transfer of weapons on the open seas.
Venezuela and Iran have reportedly been working on an arms deal since last summer including long-range missiles, and advisors to former President Donald Trump warned Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro against the provocative deal, saying the delivery of such weapons would be a provocative act and would be understood as a threat to the U.S. and the region.
In addition, under the administration of former President Donald Trump, the U.S. was one of dozens of countries that recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela and demanded Maduro’s resignation following the disputed election results.
The Trump administration imposed severe sanctions on Venezuela’s top government officials and oil industry.
Earlier this year, White House officials reported that a softening of the stance against Venezuela was being considered if the Maduro regime took steps toward a resolution of its conflict with the opposition party.
While sanctions imposed during the Trump era remain in place today, the Venezuelan government is likely using the threat of arms transfers as a strategy to negotiate an easing of sanctions on its economy, knowing that the Biden administration already intended to ease them.
As reported by NewsMax, the United States had informed Venezuela through diplomatic channels that the desired sanctions relief was “less likely” if the ships were to dock.
Despite Venezuela being a quintessential oil-producing country, due to the dismal management produced by its socialist government after nationalizing oil production, it now needs to import oil to maintain its domestic consumption.
In fact, the United States seized oil from four Iranian tankers in August 2020 and has successfully interrupted oil deliveries during the last year as part of the sanctions imposed by Trump in the face of the Maduro dictatorship’s refusal to recognize Juan Guaidó as the elected president of Venezuela.