‘Iran smuggling uranium,’ Venezuela’s opposition leader warns Israel

Venezuela’s interim president says Iran has infiltrated his country and is getting illegally smuggled uranium for its nuclear program.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Iran is receiving uranium from petroleum-rich Venezuela, and the Islamic Republic is paying for it with shipments of oil to the rogue regime, opposition leader Juan Guaido said in an interview published Sunday.

“It is public knowledge that several members of the military have been arrested after smuggling uranium from Venezuela, and we believe Iran is one of the main destinations,” Guaido told Israel Hayom in an interview conducted from his residence in the capital city of Caracas.

“The Maduro regime has become a crime syndicate, while importing oil from Iran. At present, a preliminary investigation exists into uranium stockpiles in Venezuela and the countries to which this material could be sent,” Guaido told the paper.

“There is a large reservoir of uranium in Venezuela that is smuggled from the country somehow, through illegal channels,” he said.

“The Maduro dictatorship allowed Iran to enter,” Gauido said. “It started when [former President Hugo] Chavez began welcoming companies under sanctions by the U.S. and other countries.”

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It was reported in December 2020 that Iran was supplying Maduro with weapons and soldiers to help prop up his regime.

Despite having some of the world’s largest oil reserves, the once robust Venezuelan oil industry has virtually collapsed under the authoritarian rule of Nicolas Maduro, whose anti-democratic and anti-western policies have caused the Venezuelan economy to spiral and the country to be shunned diplomatically.

After Maduro banned major opposition parties from running in the 2018 national elections, the country’s National Assembly declared the results of the presidential election invalid and announced that Guaido was constitutionally the interim acting president.

Although the international community recognized Guaido’s presidency, Maduro rejected the decision and used the military to put down opposition protests, killing thousands of protesters in the process.

Maduro’s military now runs a country suffering high unemployment and shortages of food and medical supplies, spurring an estimated 5-to-6 million Venezuelans to flee across their own borders the past two years.

The Venezuelan dictator has also barred opposition members from entering parliament, and banned Guaido from leaving the country while ordering his assets frozen.

Israel recognizes Guaido as the official leader of Venezuela and Guaido acknowledged that support. The countries have no diplomatic relations after Chavez severed ties in 2009.

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“The Israeli government is an important diplomatic supporter of the war against the dictatorship,” Guaido said.

Although the UN accused Maduro’s government of carrying out crimes against humanity, he remains firmly in power with the support of extremist regimes like Iran and Cuba.

After a recent phone call with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Guaido said it still isn’t clear what position the Biden administration will take on Venezuela.

“The dictatorship’s threats exist, and it operates this way because the people don’t support it and it doesn’t have much support in the international community,” Guaido explained. “Venezuela’s only alternative is free elections and allowing a process for a legitimate government.”