Iran, Russia and China have all condemned comments from the United States that try and implicate Tehran, Moscow and Beijing in the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, the Iranians calling on the Americans to end their “economic terrorism” against the South American nation.
The sense that American foreign policy is quickly losing its grip on reality was only amplified on Saturday, when the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated claims made in February that Hezbollah has a presence in Venezuela, adding that Iranian and Chinese money was being used for unstated “malign purposes” and that “all options [are] on the table” regarding military action against Venezuela.
“[Chinese Money is being used] with malign intent, to give money with strings attached, which will destroy the sovereignty of a South American nation… Iranian money remains in South America being used for malign purposes, supporting Hezbollah, supporting transnational criminal organisations, supporting efforts at terrorism throughout the region. This is Iran intervening in South America. That’s not in the best interests of the South American people, and the United States stands ready.”Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi strongly dismissed the comments by Pompeo, calling the claims “ridiculous” and pointing out that Iranian specialists are only in Venezuela at the request of President Nicolás Maduro to improve water and electricity supplies, supplies largely believed to have been sabotaged by American-backed actions in support of coup-leader Juan Guaidó.
“The US has plundered $30 billion (£22.9bn) worth of Venezuela’s foreign-exchange reserves, is targeting the Venezuelan nation with its economic terrorism, asking them to either riot against their legitimate government or face starvation. The US under Trump seeks to turn Latin America into its backyard, just like the way it was in the 19th century. However, nations of the world, particularly the people of Latin America, have woken up and the wheel of time will not move backwards.”Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman
The unproven allegations from Pompeo are the latest in a series of moves from the United States that critics suggest are laying the groundwork for military action against both Iran and Venezuela.
Last week, the Trump administration, under a directive from Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organisation, a move that would give U.S. forces “rights” to strike at the Iranian army without needing Congressional approval for war.
Russia and China joined Iran in condemning Pompeo’s comments and American foreign policy in general, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stating that America was openly interfearing in the affairs of other nations.
“The Americans are openly meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. Venezuela is on everyone’s lips. Their regime-change blitz has failed. But the Americans are not giving up their aim to topple the legitimate president.”Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
The comments were echoed by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesan Lu Kang who suggested that Pompeo might want to “take a break.”
“U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo’s attempts to slander China and sow discord between China and Latin American countries are irresponsible and nonsensical. We are strongly opposed to it. The U.S. has long been treating Latin America as its backyard, where it would resort to willful use of pressure, threat or even subversion. People can tell right from wrong. I am sure Latin American countries are fully capable of telling a true friend from a false one who is ignoring rules and spreading chaos.Lu Kang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman
I need to point out that for quite some time, certain U.S. politicians have been touring the globe with the same script in their pockets to smear China, starting fires and fanning the flames and sowing discords. Such behaviors are really beneath their dignity. A lie will remain a lie, even if repeated a thousand times. Mr. Pompeo might as well take a break.”
America has largely been seen as the driving force behind attempts to unseat the legitimately elected Maduro, the Venezuelan leader being a staunch critic of American foreign policy and the South American nation being rich in oil. The ongoing efforts to secure new sources of oil echoes similar claims made about the reasoning behind the Trump administration’s decision to recognise Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights.
The attempted coup also echoes similar moves for decades throughout the continent as the United States continuously pushes nations into the arms of right-wing and even the far-right regiemes in an effort to quell socialism. Accusations of U.S. interference have been made in Argentina, Guatemala, Chile, Paraguay and Brazil and the U.S. openly supported the 2009 coup in Honduras that unleashed a wave of terror across the country.