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Iranian tankers unloading much needed gasoline in Venezuela

Tuesday, May 26th 2020 - 07:45 UTC
Full article 6 comments
In a statement Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami said the convoy was an expression of the Venezuelan people's “self-determination” and praised Tehran's friendship In a statement Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami said the convoy was an expression of the Venezuelan people's “self-determination” and praised Tehran's friendship
El Aissami triumphantly shared images on Twitter of the first ship, “Fortune” arriving at El Palito refinery on Venezuela's northwest coast El Aissami triumphantly shared images on Twitter of the first ship, “Fortune” arriving at El Palito refinery on Venezuela's northwest coast

The first of five Iranian tankers carrying much-needed gasoline and oil derivatives docked in Venezuela on Monday, Caracas announced amid concern in Washington over the burgeoning relationship between countries it sees as international pariahs.

In a statement delivered on state television, Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami said the convoy was an expression of the Venezuelan people's “self-determination” and praised Tehran's friendship at a time of need.

“What great fortune to have Iran in these times,” said the minister, surrounded by members of the military leadership. Earlier, El Aissami triumphantly shared images on Twitter of the first ship, “Fortune” arriving at El Palito refinery on Venezuela's northwest coast. “We keep going and WINNING!” El Aissami wrote.

The United States has closely monitored the shipments, concerned that Iran and Venezuela - both under US sanctions - were taking their longstanding ties to another strategic level.

The Iranian tankers have run the gauntlet of US warships arrayed off the Venezuelan coast after Washington announced last month it was stepping up its naval presence, arguing there was an increase in organized crime.

Tensions between Washington and Caracas remain high following Venezuela's disruption last month of an abortive military assault by a group of mercenaries coordinated by a private US security company.

The US has stepped up sanctions against socialist President Nicolas Maduro and his inner circle, recently offering a US$15 million reward for Maduro accusing him of masterminding a drug-smuggling ring.

Washington and more than 60 other states accuse Maduro of stealing the 2018 elections and instead recognise his opposition rival Juan Guaido as interim president.

The vital shipment arrives at a time of chronic fuel shortages in the crisis-wracked South American country, exacerbated by the coronavirus lockdown.

Gasoline is currently selling for up to three dollars a liter on the black market in Caracas, unheard of in a country where motorists are used to filling up for practically nothing.

The navy on Twitter said its ships were escorting a second tanker, the Forest, which it said entered the country's waters early Monday. The other Iranian tankers - Petunia, Faxon, Clavel and Forest - will arrive in the next few days, state television said.

The fleet is carrying around 1.5 million barrels of gasoline, according to press reports.

Top Comments

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  • Pugol-H

    Even though oil is as cheap as it’s ever been, refined products are not, nor is shipping them half way round the world.

    However much Venezuela needs this, they are not going to be able to pay much (hard cash) for it and Iran can’t afford to give it away for nothing, they have enough problems as it is funding wars all over the Middle East.

    This works for the US, Venezuela having to buying Petrol as expensive as it gets, Iran having to sell it as cheap as it gets.

    Too many more “expressions of the Venezuelan people's “self-determination and Tehran's friendship at a time of need”, could bankrupt both countries.

    May 26th, 2020 - 06:16 pm +2
  • Chicureo

    tallison46

    I agree. Just the cost of escorting a tanker to their port is horrendously negative cost-effective. The gringos are poking the Iranians and Marxists with a sharp stick while enjoying the stress its placing upon Maduro.

    SHADENFRUEDE

    May 26th, 2020 - 02:21 pm +1
  • Pugol-H

    Unfortunately for Venezuela, it does look like that is what is going to happen.

    May 27th, 2020 - 12:45 pm +1
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