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article imageTwo of five Iranian tankers are already in Venezuelan waters

By Ken Hanly     May 25, 2020 in Politics
The Trump administration has been reacting angrily at Iran's shipment of five tanker loads of gasoline to Venezuela, threatening sanctions or other actions against them.
Two of the five tankers have reached Venezuelan territorial waters
The threats by the US
have so far have had no effect. The US has not actually interfered with any of the five tankers. There was talk of the US sending even more ships to the Caribbean that could cause a potential confrontation. Venezuela alerted the UN last Friday that there was an imminent threat by the US of the use of military force against the tankers.
After the first ship entered Venezuelan waters Jorge Arreaza, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister tweeted: “Iran and Venezuela have always supported each other in times of difficulty. Today, the first ship with gasoline arrives for our people.”
Samuel Moncada, Venezuelan permanent envoy to the UN as mentioned warned the UN on Friday of US threats to use military force against the tankers In a tweet Moncada warned that an "armed attack on tankers, exercising free trade and navigation between sovereign nations, is a crime of aggression". Moncado also noted "a naval blockade is aggravated by the fact that it aims to deprive an entire population of its vital means of subsistence" and that "it is a crime of extermination".
Two tankers have reached Venezuelan coastal waters
Already two of the Iranian tankers have entered Venezuelan waters. The first Iranian tanker the Fortune entered Venezuelan waters on Saturday night and was immediately escorted by the Venezuelan military. The second tanker the Forest entered Venezuelan waters on Monday morning and also received an escort right away. There are still three Iranian tankers at sea but US threats have not resulted in any interference with them as yet. Iran has threatened to retaliate against any US actions to interfere with the shipments.
Venezuela to pay for the gasoline in gold
Venezuela's President Maduro
thanked Venezuela for providing the gasoline. Reportedly Venezuela is to pay for the gasoline in gold. This will avoid any international financial structures which the US could convince not to carry out payment. The US is reported to have sanctioned a Chinese company that facilitated the transfer of the gold via air to Iran.
Although Venezuela has lots of oil itself, its refinery is not functional and US sanctions have made it impossible to obtain crucial parts necessary for its repair. The sanctions have also helped ruin the Venezuelan economy and the COVID-19 pandemic is only making the situation worse.
More about Iranian gasoline tankers, US Iran relations, Iran Venezuela relations
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