TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The European Union on Tuesday extended sanctions against Venezuela by a year to keep up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's government as the oil-rich country lurches deeper into crisis.
An embargo on arms and equipment was extended to November 14 next year, along with asset freezes and travel bans on 18 senior members of the Maduro regime.
The European move comes less than a week after Washington slapped tough new sanctions on Venezuela targeting particularly the gold sector and denounced Caracas as being part of a 'troika of tyranny' with Cuba and Nicaragua, AFP reported.
The European Council, which groups the 28 member states, said the decision to extend the sanctions was taken 'in view of the continuing deterioration of the situation in Venezuela'.
'These measures are intended to help encourage democratic shared solutions in order to bring political stability to the country and allow it to address the pressing needs of the population,' the council said in a statement.
'These targeted measures are flexible and reversible and designed not to harm the Venezuelan population.'
The EU imposed the arms embargo in November last year and added various officials to the sanctions list over the course of 2018, most recently in June in response to Maduro's controversial re-election as president.
Economic collapse in Venezuela has led to chronic shortages of food and medicine and, according to the UN, prompted 1.9 million Venezuelans to flee the country since 2015.