Defying the US sanctions, Iranian vessels recently shipped gasoline to South American country, Venezuela. Even after the “maximum pressure” approach, Trump has failed to stop Iran from developing strong ties with to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions.
As reported earlier by Eurasian Times, Iran supplied about 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate to gasoline starved Venezuela. The US had imposed sanctions on “two nations it has identified as America’s greatest enemies”.
US’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo mocked the delivery as “just enough gasoline for a couple of weeks.” But that understates the deal between the two countries: Iranian aircraft have also delivered parts and technicians to repair Venezuela’s crumbling refineries, and the government of Nicolás Maduro is believed to have repaid Tehran with gold bars worth between $500 million and $700 million, according to several reports.
The cooperation between Maduro and Khamenei regimes have been growing as Nicolás Maduro said he would soon visit Tehran. US officials have said that they will not tolerate the Iranian supplies of gasoline to Venezuela.
Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, said that he believed Iran’s objective was to “gain a positional advantage in our neighbourhood in a way that would counter U.S. interests.”
Trump’s approach to deal with Iran has been widely criticised especially when he abruptly announced that the US was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and then launched economic sanctions on Iran and continued with it even though Iran is struggling to fight the pandemic.
In response to this, Khamenei’s regime fought back with defying such sanctions while the US could do nothing but look at it silently as it unfolded.
“‘Maximum pressure’ has caused unprecedented economic pain for the Iranian regime, but has not yet resulted in any outcome that advances American interests,” observed Michael Singh in an essay. Singh was senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration.
“It has not resulted in a new U.S.-Iran negotiation, ended or meaningfully obstructed Iranian regional activities, or provoked political instability in Iran,” he added.
The US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport targeted and killed Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This Trump-ordered strike was carried with the purpose to deter Iran.
Such attacks have left Ayatollah unperturbed and have backfired on the US forces which have faced more than 20 attacks by Iranian backed groups. Trump has retaliated only by way of economic sanctions.
According to Jackson Diehl, columnist focusing on international affairs at the Washington Post, three years of “maximum pressure” have left Tehran with nothing to lose; Trump can only hope that the regime chooses to quietly endure the sanctions for the next five months.
Consequently, such measures by Trump have brought Iran and Venezuela together orchestrating an embarrassment for the US.