Why Should the U.S. Care about a renewed Iran-Venezuela Relationship?

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By Norman T. Roule, Former National Intelligence Manager, Iran, ODNI

Roule is a geopolitical and energy consultant who served for 34 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to Iran and the Middle East. As NIM-I, he was responsible for all aspects of national intelligence policy related to Iran, including IC engagement with senior policymakers in the National Security Council and the Department of State.

Earlier this Spring, an oil tanker from Iran arrived in Venezuela with a much-needed delivery, despite the fact that both nations are under US sanctions.  It was a signal of a strengthening relationship between two authoritarian regimes.  A spokeswoman for the US State Department criticized the move but stopped short of saying whether the US would attempt to block additional planned shipments.

The shipments continued, and by June, the world had its answer as the US put sanctions on five Iranian ship captains who delivered the oil.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the ships delivered close to 1.5m barrels of gas and oil.  Pompeo also reiterated his support for Venezuela’s National Assembly and its interim president, Juan Guaido.

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