The Trump administration on Wednesday issued a fresh round of sanctions on several Iranian tanker captains who recently piloted a fuel shipment to Venezuela, in defiance of U.S. embargoes.
The sanctions will impact five captains who ferried 1.5 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela last month. The sanctions come as another Iranian shipment of cargo and other goods reached Venezuela’s Maduro regime earlier on Wednesday.
Iran has emerged as one of the embattled Venezuelan regime’s top supporters, as both nations confront biting U.S. economic sanctions. Iran’s foray into American waters was seen as a major escalation in its standoff with the United States.
"The rogue regimes in Caracas and Tehran are unified by their penchant for repressing their people, corruption, self-enrichment, and gross mismanagement of their peoples’ wealth," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "Iran’s continued support to Venezuela is yet another instance of Iran wasting its people’s resources on ill-conceived foreign adventurism that prolongs suffering abroad."
As part of the designation, each of the Iranian captains will have their assets frozen. Any person or entity that engages in business with them also will be subject to U.S. penalties.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States "will target anyone who supports Iranian attempts to evade United States sanctions."
"The Iranian regime’s support to the authoritarian and corrupt regime in Venezuela is unacceptable, and the Administration will continue to use its authorities to disrupt it," he said in a statement.