Ignoring US warning, first Iranian fuel tanker arrives in Venezuelan watersEuropost
The first of five Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela has moored at Venezuela's El Palito refinery, Iran's English-language Press TV reported on Monday.
Iran is providing Venezuela with 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and components in a move criticised by US authorities as both nations are under US sanctions, according to the governments, sources and calculations by TankerTrackers.com.
"The Iranian oil/chem Handymax tanker, named Fortune, which loaded 43 million liters of gasoline during mid-March at Port Shahid Rajaee, Iran, has now moored at berth 2 at the refinery of El Palito, Venezuela, situated west of capital city, Caracas," tweeted TankerTrackers.com.
A second vessel, the Forest, entered the Caribbean Sea on Saturday. The three remaining vessels were crossing the Atlantic.
Also on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned of retaliation if the United States interrupted the delivery.
“If our tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world face trouble caused by the Americans, they (the US) will also be in trouble,” Rouhani said in a phone call with Qatar’s Emir, Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
Iran and Venezuela are both under US sanctions, and a senior American official has said the United States is weighing a response to the fuel shipment. The United States recently increased its naval presence in the Caribbean for what it said was an expanded anti-drug operation, according to the report.
US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook on Thursday harshly criticized Iran over the fuel shipment.
“We think that this is another regrettable example of the Iranian regime stealing the wealth of the Iranian people to help an illegitimate kleptocrat on the other side of the world,” he told JNS.
Hook’s statement comes as the Trump administration has reportedly been considering new sanctions and other steps in response to Iranian oil exports to Venezuela.