A top Trump official has issued a severe warning to both Iran and Venezuela against the transportation of arms, stating that if Iran sends its missiles to Venezuela, the United States government will intercede to stop the shipment. Failing that, the missiles will be “dealt with.”
“I’ve made one very concrete statement about this: We will not accept, we will not tolerate, the placement in Venezuela of Iranian missiles that can reach the United States,” stated Elliott Abrams at a webinar hosted by George Mason University,
Abrams is the Trump administration’s Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela.
“We will not accept it, and if they try to do it, at least in this administration, we will try to interdict it, and if they arrive in Venezuela, they will be dealt with in Venezuela,” he added. “It is not acceptable to have Iranian missiles in Venezuela that can reach the United States.”
“We’re not going to tolerate it, and I think that making that statement flatly and clearly will serve as an adequate deterrent,” Abrams stated. “Venezuela policy has been remarkably bipartisan in the last four years. When Juan Guaidó was invited to the State of Union... he stood up in the balcony, everybody rose and applauded, and right behind [Trump] was Nancy Pelosi doing it, so it’s been a bipartisan policy.”
As reported by The Daily Wire, Abrams was echoing remarks made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in September, who warned that both Iran and Venezuela risk incurring further sanctions, should they flout the United Nations arms embargo:
Today, I will take the first action under this new executive order by sanctioning the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, and Iran’s Defense Industries Organization and its director. We’re also sanctioning the previous president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. For nearly two years, corrupt officials in Tehran have worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo. Our actions today are [a] warning that should be heard worldwide. No matter who you are, if you violate the UN arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions.
Admiral Craig Faller, who is in charge of the US Southern Command, acknowledged that the military has observed growing Iranian influence in [Venezuela] including from the Quds Force, one of the five branches of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “It’s not just oil shipments. It’s arms shipments as well,” he said. “We have been tracking that. We saw an uptick in that this year. We’re watching the rate of change very carefully to see if it connects to any other Iranian malfeasance around the globe.”