Venezuela slaps sanctions on USA, while Iran presses for lifting US sanctions!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
All efforts by Washington to make friends with South American or Latin American nations, things have not remained tensed between the two Americas. While Cuba, known for the historic Cuban missile crisis with USA in early 1960s, after decades of animosity, has agreed to be development ties with USA, another South American nation Venezuela has come forward to punish Americans. .
When Iran has been pressing the USA and EU to lift sanctions that have badly crippled its economy, Venezuela has taken the similar action of sanctions on USA. Not even Russia which has been fighting another cold war with USA, has been so forthright and harsh against Americans as Venezuela has slapped sanctions on Americans, making Washington feel and look small in the eyes of Europeans, Chinese and third world. China never does such drastic steps against the USA and goes for adjustments as fellow veto holder on UNSC..
Even as Iran pressing the USA to lift sanctions placed on it, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced on Feb. 28 he will restrict the number US diplomats allowed in the country and demand American have visas before they enter the country over spy controversy.
An American pilot was captured in Venezuela recently, and the president suspects him of being a spy. He believes the United States is planning a coup against the Venezuelan government, The Guardian reported. The pilot is still being detained. Maduro has complained there are 100 employees from the American government working in its missions in Venezuela, as compared to their 17 in the United States. Maduro’s list of banned politicians includes George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio, according to the BBC.
It looks Venezuela is taking retaliatory measure against US behavior. The United States recently restricted the visas of some Venezuelan officials, accusing them of human rights violations and corruption. “We are sending a clear message that human rights abusers, those who profit from public corruption, and their families are not welcome in the United States,” said US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Coming to Iran, USA has made some concessions to Iran over the nuclear fiasco, going a bit slow. Tehran says it’s time to lift sanctions against the oil-rich country imposed in response to nuclear concerns, though a new U.N. report raises questions.
Iran and members of the international community are working to resolve long-standing issues over the country’s controversial nuclear program. A sanctions package from November 2013 allows Iran to export some crude oil in exchange for concessions on nuclear research.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said sanctions on his country should be “lifted all at once” because of its commitment to nuclear talks. “Iran has always honored its commitments and it is currently clear to everyone that Iran is a completely serious side in the talks,” he said in a statement Sunday. Yukiya Amano, general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, briefed delegates in Austria on the progress of the talks. Iran, he said, has verified it hasn’t diverted any of its declared nuclear material to non-peaceful activity. “However, the agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” he said in a statement.
Iran is working on a budget for a new year that begins mid-March that diminishes the weight given to oil revenue. Already, Rouhani said the economic progress “has been like a miracle,” even under the weight of sanctions.
The Iranian economy emerged from recession in December. Iranian officials in Tehran said that even if sanctions are lifted, the government needs to ensure economic progress can continue.