President Barack Obama has sharply criticized Venezuela’s ties to Iran. The president told the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal that the Venezuelan government's ties to Iran have not served the interests of Venezuela or the Venezuelan people.
“Ultimately, it is up to the Venezuelan people to determine what they gain from a relationship with a country that violates universal human rights and is isolated from much of the world,” Obama said. “Here in the Americas, we take Iranian activities, including in Venezuela, very seriously and we will continue to monitor them closely.” [AP, 20 December].
Earlier this year the US State Department slapped sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company for selling components to Iran.
The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez soon responded to President Obama on state television by saying that Obama needs to leave the Venezuelans alone.