Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just announced new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, along with two Iranian scientists working for the Iranian Defense Ministry who are said to be central to the country's uranium-enrichment efforts.
Late last week, anonymously sourced reports citing senior US officials claimed that the US was preparing to sanction more than 2 dozen people and entities involved with Iran's nuclear program as the Trump Administration seeks to unilaterally ramp up sanctions on the Iranian regime. Officials also warned that Iran has enough fissile material that it could develop a bomb by the end of the year.
The two Iranians targeted by the sanctions play "an essential role" in the country's uranium enrichment.
The sanctions against Maduro follow several rounds of sanctions targeting top Venezuelan officials and even members of Maduro's family (two of Maduros' male relatives were even arrested by the US in 2015 after allegedly plotting to traffic drugs into the country).
Pompeo touted the 'Abraham Accords' - the deal to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE - during a speech unveiling the sanctions. After expounding upon the Trump Administration's accomplishments in the Middle East, Pompeo accused the Iranian regime of being the world's "leading state sponsor of terrorism" and the "arm's dealer of choice" for terrorists and dictators. Fortunately, Trump's executive order announced Monday gives the US "powerful tools" to enforce an Iranian arms embargo, even if the rest of the world isn't cooperating.
Regarding the sanctions on Maduro, Pompeo said for years "corrupt officials" in Venezuela have helped Iran violate the US arms embargo.
Last night, Pompeo touted the "snap-back" in UN sanctions on Iran, even as the world "ignores" Washington's demands, and Iran reportedly claims victory over the US after the Trump Administration failed to sway America's European allies to back the resumption of sanctions on Iran.
Last night at midnight, the @UN sanctions snapped back, putting another increasing restraint on the capacity for the Islamic Republic of Iran to create harm in the Middle East. The United States has led and will prevent arms trafficking by Iran. pic.twitter.com/FrF4y1ARVW— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 20, 2020
"When we launched the 'maximum pressure' campaign, critics said it wouldn't work. They were wrong," Pompeo said, citing hundreds of lives saved and the drain on Iran's economy.
Watch remarks from Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin below: