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Iran accuses US of hypocrisy over claims Tehran is interfering in Venezuela

IRAN has accused the US of hypocrisy over claims that Tehran is interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela, warning Washington that it must stop its campaign of “economic terrorism” against Caracas.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi dismissed comments made by Mike Pompeo as “ridiculous” after the US Secretary of State claimed that Iranian money was being used in Venezuela for “malign purposes.”

Mr Pompeo claimed in February that “Hezbollah has active cells in Venezuela,” stating that Washington has “an obligation to take down that risk for America.”

On Saturday he repeated the claim in an interview with propaganda outfit Voice of America, warning: “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,” he said.

His claims of Hezbollah activity in Venezuela have been widely derided, lacking concrete evidence, though Iranian specialists are currently in Caracas at the request of President Nicolas Maduro to “improve the water and electricity systems in Venezuela” following cyber attacks which caused shortages of both utilities.

Mr Mousavi hit back at Washington, saying Mr Pompeo’s claims of interference come as “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.”

He added: “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.”

Last week the Venezuelan government revealed the names and plans of a “far-right terrorist group” discovered following last month’s arrest of usurper Juan Guaido’s alleged chief-of-staff Roberto Marrero Borgas.

He was found with “a batch of military-grade weapons and cash in foreign currency,” according to Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, on the day of his arrest. Subsequent investigations revealed a “large operation of political, military and financial aggression” against the government was being planned.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the group – called Cocoon 2.0 – included Mr Guaido, the unelected president of Venezuela’s defunct national assembly, who is trying to oust Mr Maduro in a Washington-backed coup.


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