BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 P.M.) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday, the imposition of sanctions on the captains of five Iranian tankers, which transported about 1.5 million barrels of Iranian oil to Venezuela.

Pompeo stressed, during a press conference today, that the United States remains committed to its support for the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaido.

In a statement, the U.S. Treasury affirmed the imposition of sanctions on five people linked to the “Maritime Fleet of Shipping Lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran” (Earsel Group) and the National Iranian Carriers Company.

The U.S. Secretary of State stressed the need to keep the United Nations arms embargo against Iran in place, despite the expiry of its validity period, expressing his hope that the entire world will “accept the U.S. proposal to extend the embargo.”

He added that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is making strenuous efforts to ensure that the whole world is aware of the danger of lifting the arms embargo on Iran.

Pompeo said that Washington had asked Tehran to “act as a natural country,” expressing the U.S. administration’s willingness to launch negotiations with Iran “at the appropriate time.”

The U.S. minister also expressed Washington’s concern that Tehran refused to grant international inspectors permission to visit sites that called for suspicions of the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying that “Iran’s obstruction of the IAEA’s work raises serious questions about its efforts and what it is trying to hide.”

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