WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors late on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four tankers that Iran is shipping to Venezuela, the latest attempt by the Trump administration to increase economic pressure on the two U.S. foes.
The government of Venezuelan socialist President Nicolas Maduro has flaunted the tankers, which departed last month, to show it remains unbowed by U.S. pressure. The United States, has been pressing for Maduro’s ouster with a campaign of diplomatic and punitive measures, including sanctions on state oil company PDVSA.
Gasoline shortages in Venezuela, like Iran a member of OPEC, have grown acute due to the U.S. sanctions, and the country has undergone an economic collapse. Still, Maduro has held on, and the failure to unseat him has been source of frustration for U.S. President Donald Trump, some American officials have said privately. more