The first of five Iranian oil tankers has entered Venezuela’s waters carrying more than a million barrels of fuel.The Iranian tankers are being escorted by the Venezuelan navy and air force.
The US, which has has imposed sanctions on both countries, says it is monitoring the convoy. Both Venezuela and Iran have warned Washington not to interfere with the delivery.
Venezuela is suffering a shortage of refined fuel, despite having the world’s largest oil reserves.
“The ships of the sister Islamic Republic of Iran are in our exclusive economic zone,” Venezuelan oil minister Tareck El Aissami wrote on Twitter after the arrival of the primary tanker, named Fortune.
He thanked Iran for its solidarity, saying its actions would benefit both nations.Both Iran and Venezuela are considered pariah states by the us , which has imposed sanctions prohibiting trade with either country.
The five Iranian tankers – Fortune, Forest, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel – are carrying about 1.5m barrels of fuel and skilled the Suez Canal earlier this month, consistent with shipping data on Refinitiv Eikon.
On Saturday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani repeated a warning that the country would retaliate if the tankers were blocked.
A flotilla folks Navy and Coast Guard vessels is patrolling the Caribbean on a mission to counter illicit drug traffic . But US officials haven’t announced any decide to stop the Iranian tankers.
The US reinstated economic sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump abandoned a landmark nuclear deal in May 2018.
Meanwhile, its sanctions on Venezuela are aimed toward increasing pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to step down. The US recognises opposition leader Juan Guaidó because the country’s legitimate leader.
Venezuela has been mired during a political and depression for years. Inflation hit 800,000% last year and 4.8 million people have fled the country.
Its problems are exacerbated by a recent drop by world oil prices also because the coronavirus pandemic.
For months, Venezuela’s government has circumvented an extended list of refinery problems – including power failures and accidents – by delivering petroleum in exchange for gasoline to its customers, mainly the Russian company Rosneft.
But the Trump Administration launched two rounds of sanctions in February and March against Rosneft affiliates for trading Venezuelan crude in international markets.
In late March, Rosneft announced its surprise departure from Venezuela, reports the BBC’s Guillermo D Olmo in Caracas.
Since then, petrol has had to be strictly rationed, with people queuing up through the night to fill up no more than 30 litres.
Source: bbc news