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article imageOp-Ed: Venezuela to escort Iranian tankers with gasoline into port

By Ken Hanly     May 21, 2020 in Politics
Vladimir Padrino Venezuelan Defense Minister announced Wednesday that the Venezuelan military will welcome and escort the five Iranian gasoline tankers into port as soon as they enter the country's economic zone.
On state television Padrino said that the escort would “welcome them in and thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation." He also said that Venezuela had been in contact with the Iranian Defense Minister. Padrino also assured listeners that the vessels would make it safely into port.
US sanctions cause fuel shortages
The US Trump administration has imposed unilateral sanctions on both Venezuela and Iran and is trying to end oil exports from both Iran and Venezuela. The sanctions are not binding outside of the US. However, the US uses its economic clout to try to bully other countries into following the sanctions. The US has complained about the tankers in part through Juan Guaido the self-declared interim president of Venezuela recognized and promoted by the US and many of its allies. Guaido said he was "very worried" about this "attempt of Iranian presence on Venezuelan soil." Guaido is head of the US-supported attempt to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro. The sanctions have created fuel shortages for Venezuela although it has plenty of oil as shown on the appended video. Because of the sanctions Venezuela has problems trying to get parts for its own refinery that is not functional.
The US is seen as possible trying to prevent the delivery of the Iranian oil explaining the desire to ensure that they are escorted once they come within Venezuelan territorial waters.
Iran is reportedly trading gasoline for gold
The US can often close off trade payment financial systems to countries it does not want trading. Hence Iran is taking payment in gold not in US dollars. The US has condemned the process but there is no international law prohibiting it. The US is angry that it has not the power to stop the deal. However, it has blacklisted a Chinese company that is said to facilitate the airline that is to deliver the gold back to Iran after the gasoline is delivered.
There are four US warships in the Caribbean which could accost the tankers but as yet there is no sign that they will do so. Any such action would be illegal and a very aggressive exacerbation of tensions with unpredictable results if the ships were forced away from landing in Venezuela.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Venezuela Iran relations, Iranian tankers, US venezuela relations
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