The interim government of Venezuela assured this Monday that the potential arrival of Iranian ships to Venezuela is illegal, and he called for international cooperation to prevent this from happening.. He did it through the Minister Counselor of the Embassy in the United States, Gustavo Marcano.
"The entry of ships from Iran into Venezuelan territory is not authorized by the Venezuelan Assembly. It is illegal and is part of (the dictator Nicolás) Maduro's narcoterrorist operations. The region must cooperate with the legitimate government of Venezuela to prevent these ships from entering the country.Marcano expressed in his Twitter account.
Specifically, the Minister Counselor refers to five Iranian oil tankers that left last week from that country to Venezuela. The ships appear to be carrying gasoline and similar products valued at least $ 45.5 million, representing part of an agreement between the two nations sanctioned by the United States..
The tankers make their journey after dictator Nicolás Maduro turned to Iran to get the necessary chemicals for an aging refinery amid a gasoline shortage, a symptom of the broader economic and political chaos that plagued what used to be the world's largest producer of Latin American oil.
For Iran, ships represent a way to collect money for its Shiite theocracy and to put pressure on the United States, whose President Donald Trump has campaigned against both nations.
But the strategy invites the possibility of a new confrontation between the Islamic Republic and the United States, both in the Persian Gulf, where there have already been a series of increasingly frequent incidents involving the oil industry last year, and beyond. In fact, an official of the Donald Trump government assured that the administration was evaluating possible measures as a consequence of this fact..
"This is new for everyone," said Capt. Ranjith Raja, an analyst who tracks oil shipments by sea at data firm Refinitiv. "We have not seen anything like this before"
All the vessels involved belong to Iranian companies owned or linked to the state, which sail under the flag of Iran. Since a pressure campaign against Iranian ships began, notably with the temporary seizure by Gibraltar of an Iranian oil tanker last year, the country's vessels have been unable to navigate with the flags of other nations, a common practice on international ships.
All the ships appear to have been loaded at the Persian Gulf Star refinery near Bandar Abbas, Iran, which produces gasoline, according to Raja. They then traveled across the Arabian Peninsula and through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea, according to data collected by the Automatic Vessel Identification System (AIS), which serves as a tracking beacon..
One of the tankers, the Carnation, has been heading to Caracas since May 12, according to the AIS and according to data from the naval tracking portal MarineTraffic.com. Two days later, the ship changed its destination to "what is ordered", although the ship maintains its route, in which it will leave the Mediterranean Sea and sail towards Venezuela..
Another tanker, the Forest, changed its destination AIS to "S. America according to what is ordered ”on May 14.
The other three, the Faxon, the Fortune and the Petunia, appear on routes that could take them to Venezuela.
Given the strong sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, the also sanctioned Venezuela seems to be the country that would have nothing to lose by accepting shipments. Raja said Refinitiv does not have data on any Iranian gasoline shipments that have been made to South America before.
The Iranian regime comes to the rescue of Chavismo: it sent five ships with gasoline to Venezuela
US Evaluates Taking Action In Response To Iran Fuel Shipments To Venezuela