BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M.) – A high-ranking U.S. official said that cash-strapped Venezuela is using gold to make payments to Iran for rebuilding its troubled oil sector, noting the increased cooperation between the two countries.
Elliot Abrams, the envoy who is leading the U.S. effort to remove Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from power, said Iran was sending “more aircraft” to the South American country, including this week.
Abrams claimed in a speech delivered Thursday at the conservative research center “The Hudson Institute” in Washington: “Our guesses indicate that they (the Iranians) are receiving batches of gold. Material which is gone. ”
According to Abrams, “Iran’s role revealed the limited support that Maduro received from Russia and China, who stood by him, despite Western pressure … And one of the reasons that I mention this is not only showing that Iran plays an increasing role, but also draws attention to cash payments.” “.
He added: “We know that Maduro wanted to obtain, during the past year, additional Russian and Chinese loans and additional investments, and he did not get a single cent.”
The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, spoke on Wednesday of the monitoring of ‘numerous’ planes landing in Venezuela belonging to the Iranian Mahan Air, stressing that “these flights must stop and countries must do their part to prevent the flights in their airspace.”
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions aimed at stopping oil exports from Iran and Venezuela, two of the world’s major oil producing countries.