Venezuela has slammed a new round of US sanctions on President Nicolas Maduro and Iran as aggressive and illegal, while also contesting a new UN report alleging official abuses, saying it used “human rights as a political weapon.”

“Venezuela denounces the new US aggression to the international community, announcing alleged unilateral sanctions against President Nicolas Maduro, as part of a sustained campaign of aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran and our country,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote in a tweet on Monday.

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Caracas said Washington’s actions showed it had “no respect whatsoever” for the UN and that the new sanctions were imposed “without any basis” in international law. It also vowed that “no intimidating and arrogant action by the US government” would deter Venezuela from friendly relations with Iran.

Hours prior, the US State Department announced a fresh round of penalties on both Tehran and Caracas – including Maduro and a number of Iranian entities – accusing the two nations of working together to “flout the UN arms embargo” on Iran.

“Our placing sanctions on Maduro today is a warning that should be heard clearly worldwide: no matter who you are, if you violate the UN arms embargo on Iran, you risk sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said while announcing the new measures on Monday. (RT)