U.S. Tightens Grip on Sanctions Against Venezuela

Washington Reiterates its Threats against Venezuela
June 24, 2011 by lchirino

South Journal--The United States does not discard the imposition of more severe sanctions against Venezuela, if this country does not stop its gasoline shipments to Iran, and this includes accusing Caracas of sponsoring terrorism, said a high government US official on Friday.

Thomas L. Delare director of the Office of Terrorist Finance and Economic Sanctions Policy with the US Department of State said on Friday, during a joint session of the subcommittees for National Security and for the Western Hemisphere of the House, that the sanctions imposed last month were aimed at convincing Venezuela´s PDVSA Oil Company to "take the right decision."

Delare said that if PDVSA does not stop (gas shipments to Iran), which they have made clear in conversations with the Venezuelan company and authorities, the Secretary of State reserves the authority to impose additional and more severe sanctions. Delare was referring to the sanctions imposed last month against PDVSA and other foreign companies for doing business with Iran.No option has yet been discarded, while the State Department will continue to evaluate which additional actions may be justified in the future, said the US government official.

PDVSA was excluded of all US contracts, as well as of federal finance for imports and exports, while it will be denied licenses to purchase special technology, though it will be able to keep selling to the US market and send shipments to CITGO, its branch office in the United States .

These were the first sanctions adopted against Venezuela for its oil-related exports to Iran since the US Congress approved a legislation allowing the adoption of this kind of measures last year.

Those countries labeled by the US State Department as "sponsors of terrorism" are facing sanctions that include the suspension of US assistance and the prohibition of sales and exports of military equipment. The countries currently facing these sanctions are Cuba , Iran , Sudan and Syria.


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