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Iran Accuses U.S. Of Coup Attempt In Venezuela

By Orkhan Jalilov May 5, 2019

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Opposition demonstrators face military vehicles near the Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Airbase "La Carlota" in Caracas, Venezuela April 30, 2019. / Reuters

The Iranian foreign ministry has accused the United States of triggering violence in Venezuela, calling on the international community to condemn remarks coming out of Washington.   

"Threatening to use force against other countries is a stark violation of international laws, particularly the United Nations Charter," said Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, on May 2. “The UN Secretary General and all members of the international community are expected to condemn such remarks and show an appropriate reaction to them.”

Mousavi said the global order and stability is under threat by a group of war-mongering, lawless and chaos-seeking individuals in the U.S. administration. His remarks come after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 1 had warned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in an interview with Fox Business Network, saying that “military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do.”

Pompeo accused Russia of convincing Maduro to cling to office instead of fleeing to Cuba amid growing street protests. Russia, in turn, chided Pompeo for spreading “fakes” as part of an “information war.”

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since January 10, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido. The U.S. recognizes Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela and has called for Maduro to step down.

On April 30, Guaido, standing near the La Carlota air force base in capital Caracas and surrounded by a group of about 70 armed men wearing uniforms, called for military units to support him in the “final phase” of a plan to end Maduro’s “usurpation” of power. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets across Venezuela since then, heeding Guaido's call to keep the pressure on Maduro. Clashes with security forces left four dead, along with hundreds injured or detained, according to Reuters.

Iran responded to Guaido’s comments as being those of “chaos and anarchy,” and called “to establish dialogue and develop the required mechanisms between all parties,” according to reporting by Tasnim News.

Support for Maduro’s government by Tehran may also be about business and financial interests, however.

First, the two are members of OPEC and have an interest in oil exploration and exportation. Additionally, Iran has been involved in several joint ventures with Venezuela worth several billions of dollars including in the energy, agriculture, housing and infrastructure sectors. Despite American sanctions and stern warnings to countries and companies doing business with Iran, it has opened an ammunition factory, a car assembly plant and a cement factory in Venezuela, and has established commercial airline routes for direct flights between Tehran and Caracas on Iran Air.