US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo accused Iran of supplying “unknown aid” to the Venezuelan authorities and demanded to stop flights there by the Iranian company Mahan Air.
“I would like to update information about the ties of the regime (Venezuelan President Nicolas-ed.) Maduro with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Over the past few days, a large number of planes belonging to Mahan Air have delivered unknown aid to the Maduro regime,” Pompeo told reporters.
“These flights should be stopped, and countries should take measures on their part to prohibit flights over their territory, as many have already denied this sanctioned airline the right to land,” the Secretary of state added.
The US has added Mahan Air to the sanctions lists twice: on suspicion of “supporting terrorism” and for “a role in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
In Venezuela, mass protests against President Nicolas Maduro began in early 2019 shortly after he was sworn in. Juan Guido, head of the National Assembly, controlled by the opposition, declared himself interim head of state. Several Western countries led by the US announced its recognition of Guido. In turn, Maduro called the head of the Parliament a puppet of the United States. Russia, China, Turkey, and some other countries supported Maduro as a legitimate President.