Iran could send Revolutionary Guards to Venezuela, foreign minister says

Iran could send Revolutionary Guards to Venezuela, foreign minister says
Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif has offered to send troops from the Revolutionary Guard to support its South American ally, as incumbent socialist President Nicolas Maduro faces anti-government unrest.
2 min read
16 April, 2019
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has offered to send Revolutionary Guard troops to Venezuela [AFP/Getty]
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif offered to send Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops to protect embattled Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, according to Channel 13 news.

Venezuela has been in crisis since its National Assembly chief Guaido proclaimed himself acting president of Venezuela following a mass opposition rally against incumbent socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The country has seen two million flee the country following food and medicine shortages.

Tehran has backed President Maduro, who is facing an economic and political crisis at home.

US, Canada, Israel and 50 other countries recognise "the new leadership in Venezuela".  

This comes a day after the US formally designated Iran's Revolutionary Guards as "terrorist".

Iranian lawmakers voted to designate US troops in the Middle East as 'terrorist' in response.

The US move aims at "thwarting Iran's influence", and shows that Washington's longstanding sanctions against Iran have become ineffective, Defence Minister Gen. Amir Hatami told lawmakers during the Iranian vote.

The Revolutionary Guards has a military presence or links to armed groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and is in charge of Iranian missiles that have US bases in their range.

The Guards' designation by the US - the first-ever for an entire division of another government - adds another layer of sanctions to the powerful paramilitary force and makes it a crime under US jurisdiction to provide it with material support.

Iranian President Hassan responded in full force after the Guard was blacklisted, saying, "You want to use terrorist groups as tools against the nations of the region... you are the leader of world terrorism."

Agencies contributed to this report.

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