Department of State

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U.S. increases pressure on Iran with slate of nuclear sanctions

Mike Pompeo and Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

The State and Treasury departments on Friday sanctioned 31 entities — 17 organizations and 14 people — with ties to Iran's Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), a previously sanctioned research center that was involved in Tehran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Why it matters: The designation was pursuant to an executive order signed in 2005 that laid out penalties for those involved in the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The U.S. has used the order to target Iran's ballistic missile program, but these are the first nuclear-specific designations since the Iran nuclear deal entered into force in January 2016.

NYT: Footage contradicts U.S. claims of Maduro burning aid trucks

Vice President Mike Pence with John Bolton behind him.
Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Unpublished footage obtained by the New York Times contradicts claims by the Trump administration that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was responsible for lighting a convoy of humanitarian aid on fire.

The big picture: The Times notes that Vice President Mike Pence, national security Adviser John Bolton and Sen. Marco Rubio had all referenced the burning of the trucks in their continued condemnation of the Maduro regime, with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó joining in as well. But the new video suggests it was an errant Molotov cocktail thrown by an anti-government protestor that accidentally lit one of the trucks on fire.

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