Analysts say the new US sanctions – seen as a move to weaken Iran's economy – are the Obama administration's response to critics in Congress who say the US has been slow to get tough.
Washington announced sanctions on PDVSA Tuesday for selling gasoline to Iran. The action is unlikely to slow the flow of Venezuelan oil to its No. 1 customer, the US.
Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week pledged to 'expand ties' with Venezuela, which is under US scrutiny for shipping oil allegedly in violation of sanctions.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced US sanctions against eight Iranian officials Wednesday, citing human rights violations tied to the bloody crackdown after last summer's presidential election.