Iranian ships approach Venezuela with no sign of U.S. threat
The first of five tankers loaded with gasoline sent from Iran approached Venezuela n waters late Saturday, expected to temporarily ease the South American nation's fuel crunch while defying Trump administration sanctions targeting the two U.S. foes.
"Iran and Venezuela have always supported each other in times of difficulty," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted. "Today, the first ship with gasoline arrives for our people."The tanker and four behind it were finishing a high seas journey amid a burgeoning relationship between Iran and Venezuela, both of which Washington says are ruled by repressive regimes.
Russ Dallen, head of the Miami-based investment firm Caracas Capital Markets, confirmed the Fortune's location using ship tracking technology. He said the next ship was about 3 1/2 days behind the lead tanker.Venezuela sits atop the world's largest oil reserves, but it must import gasoline because production has crashed in the last two decades. Critics blame corruption and mismanagement by the socialist administration amid an economic crisis that has led to huge migration by Venezuelans seeking to escape poverty, shortages of basic goods and crime.
The Iranian tankers hold what analysts estimate to be enough gasoline to supply Venezuela for two to three weeks.Deep gasoline shortages have plagued Venezuela for years, though the problem had until recently largely spared the capital of Caracas, the largest population centre and political seat.
Drivers must wait for days in lines that snake through neighbourhood to fill up with government-subsidized gasoline that costs less than a penny for a tank. Wealthier drivers with U.S. dollars turn to the black market, where gas costs up to $12 a gallon. That's a small fortune in Venezuela, where the monthly minimum wage equals less than $5.
The U.S. accuses Iran and other nations of propping up Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. It's among nearly 60 nations that back opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president, contending that Maduro illegitimately won a 2018 election that banned his most popular opponents.
In a new relationship between Caracas and Tehran, Iran recently also flew shipments of a key chemical needed to help jump start a Venezuelan oil refinery and produce gasoline.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Saturday that the United States should not to interfere with the shipment of oil bound for Venezuela. In a statement, Rouhani said that the U.S. had created "unacceptable conditions" in different parts of the world, but that Iran would "by no means" be the one to initiate conflict.
"If our tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world face any problems caused by the Americans, they will face problems as well," he added. "We hope the Americans will not make a mistake."U.S. officials had announced no plans to try to intercept Iran's tankers. However, the Trump administration has increased pressure on Maduro, recently offered a $15 million bounty for his arrest after a U.S. court indicted him as a narcotrafficker.
The U.S. also recently deployed a force of ships, including Navy destroyers and other combat ships, to patrol the Caribbean on what U.S. officials call a drug interdiction mission. The Maduro government considers it a direct threat.Maduro holds on to power with support from Venezuela's military and his international allies, also including Cuba, Russia, and China. The U.S. says these nations are engaged in "malign activities and meddling" around the world.
"We will not abide by their support of the illegitimate and tyrannical regime of Nicolas Maduro," the Trump administration said in a statement, citing its "maximum pressure" campaign against the socialist leader. "Will continue until Maduro's hold on Venezuela is over."
A defiant Maduro appeared on state TV days ahead of the ships' arrivals, vowing a tough response to any U.S. aggression against the Iranian tankers. He showed images of soldiers firing antiaircraft missiles streaking across the Caribbean."They want to enslave us," Maduro said Thursday. "If you want peace, you must be prepared to defend it."
Maduro's defence minister, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, said Venezuela's armed forces would welcome the five Iranian tankers, escorting them with ships and planes through the nation's maritime territory and into port.Eric Farnsworth, vice-president of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society research centre, said he didn't expect the U.S. would act against the Iranian tankers. Such an act could too easily escalate, he said, especially in the Persian Gulf where Iran could retaliate against U.S. ships.
"(That) would needlessly undermine the narrative that Venezuela, with the world's largest proven oil supply, has to import gasoline from Iran of all places because they have become such an international pariah," Farnsworth said. "If they don't, Caracas claims a great victory for the fatherland and tries to portray the U.S. as impotent."Read more: CTV News »
Very misleading article. Dec 2018 picture. Is that the date of the story as well.? Why would anyone object to one country providing fuel to another country that needs it? This is the Americans fault ur hinting at...... great headline This smells 🐟🐟 America is the leading state actor of terror ... And by coincidence...
... Not sure about that... Well yeah. Trump is golfing. Wow CTV news said a true sentence. “Corruption and mismanagement by the socialist administration” In reality, it’s the RESULTS of socialism. A massive spending government with handouts can only lead to corruption. Just like Trudeau. Given a shot with the new Lazer , light the bitch up in green ! Why not , then China might be scared of trump and war can rebuild the USA economy notice the trend usa has been in conflict since world war 2 for profit ! Trumps out golfing ,lol
Maybe it’s a covert operation. So the rest of the world will stand by while they wait for Trump to do something. Sad bunch of cowards. It's called 'trade'. Whether you like Iran and/or Venezuela or not, sovereign nations can trade. And the curtain of US hegemony has been lifted – its empty threats, illegal sanctions, and continued imperialism will all soon see its end.
Certainly all the right-wing “strong on Iran crowd” will be along shortly to condemn the US... Something stinks about this. Beyond the obvious,that is Good thing Trump doesnt have that big red button.... American paper tiger
Iranian fuel tankers approach Venezuelan waters despite U.S. warning Venezuela ’s defense minister had pledged that the military would escort the tankers once they reached the country’s exclusive economic zone Fuck the US. Yankee go home. Mind your own business and don't intervene elsewhere. The modern pirates ! FK the USA. Nothing more than world bullies
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