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US announces ‘UN’ sanctions on Iran, Venezuela’s Maduro

AFP
Washington
The United States said on Monday it was imposing sanctions on Iran’s defence ministry and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro under a contested UN authority and demanded that Europe follow suit.
President Donald Trump’s administration named 27 people or entities that it said would be subject to UN sanctions, but the world body itself says that the decision is not up to Washington.
“The United States has now restored UN sanctions on Iran,” Trump said in a statement. “My actions today send a clear message to the Iranian regime and those in the international community who refuse to stand up to Iran.”
The Trump administration argues that it is enforcing a UN arms embargo that Iran has violated, including through an attack on Saudi oil facilities. But it is using a UN resolution that blessed a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran negotiated by former president Barack Obama.
The legal argument has been rejected by virtually all nations on the UN Security Council, with European allies of the US saying “We have made it very clear that every member state in the United Nations has a responsibility to enforce the sanctions,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters when asked about European opposition.
The US has separately been seeking to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has increasingly sought cooperation with Iran on the oil sector. The State Department said it was again imposing sanctions on Maduro under the executive order from Trump that is based on the UN resolution, pointing to defence transactions between Iran and the leftist Venezuelan leader.