•   
  •   
  •   

World Iran Ships Fuel to Venezuela, Flouting U.S. Pressure

05:30  25 may  2020
05:30  25 may  2020 Source:   online.wsj.com

5 Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela amid US pressure tactics

  5 Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela amid US pressure tactics Five Iranian tankers likely carrying at least $45.5 million worth of gasoline and similar products are now sailing to Venezuela, part of a wider deal between the two U.S.-sanctioned nations amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this April 30, 2017 file photo, released by an official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, center, inaugurates the Persian Gulf Star Refinery in Bandar Abbas, Iran. Five Iranian tankers likely carrying at least $45.

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The first of five tankers loaded with gasoline sent from Iran reached Venezuelan waters late Saturday, expected to temporarily ease the South American nation’ s fuel crunch while defying Trump administration sanctions targeting the two U . S . foes.

“ Iran and Venezuela are two independent nations that have had trade with each other and they will” in the future. But that all changed late Sunday Iran seized ships last summer and the U . S . accuses it of attacking tankers in the region amid tensions over Trump unilaterally withdrawing America from

a person standing in front of a building © Ariana Cubillos/Associated Press

The first of five tankers carrying Iranian fuel has reached gasoline-starved Venezuela in a show of defiance by two U.S. adversaries flouting American sanctions aimed at unseating their authoritarian governments.

As the first vessel entered Venezuelan waters late Saturday, Iran’s national anthem sounded on Venezuela state television against images of the late Islamic revolutionary Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as black-chador-covered women march with an Iranian flag—jarring sights for the rum-and-beauty-pageant-loving South American country. 

The Iranian navy will continue to intervene in the Gulf, despite the US warning

 The Iranian navy will continue to intervene in the Gulf, despite the US warning IRAN-USA-MARINE: The Iranian navy will continue to intervene in the Gulf, despite the US warning © Reuters / US NAVY THE IRANIAN NAVY WILL CONTINUE TO INTERVENE IN THE GULF, DESPITE THE OPINION US DUBAI (Reuters) - The Iranian military navy will continue its "current missions" in the Gulf, according to an Iranian army official quoted on Wednesday by the ISNA agency, at day after the publication of a note from the US Navy warning ships sailing in this area to stay at least 100 meters from Americ

Venezuelan state television showed images of a navy ship and aircraft preparing to meet it. Earlier on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned of retaliation if Washington caused problems for tankers carrying Iranian fuel to Venezuela , the semi-official news agency Mehr reported.

Venezuela said Wednesday that planes and ships from the nation’ s armed forces will escort the tankers in case of any U . S . aggression. President Donald Trump imposed heavy sanctions on Iran after he withdrew the U . S . from Tehran' s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Get news and analysis on politics, policy, national security and more, delivered right to your inbox

Venezuelan officials claimed triumph in the face of warnings by U.S. officials of possible new actions to impede trade between the countries on top of existing sanctions on both countries’ energy industries. The Trump administration, wary of further escalation with Iran, doesn’t plan to use force to stop the vessels, U.S. officials said.

Despite a punishing economic crisis and spreading malnutrition, the tanker’s arrival gave Venezuela’s government another reason to celebrate three weeks after it put down a botched raid by mercenaries, including two former U.S. soldiers now detained in Caracas.

An Iranian oil tanker has arrived in Venezuelan waters (minister)

 An Iranian oil tanker has arrived in Venezuelan waters (minister) © Marvin RECINOS The Venezuelan Minister of Petroleum Tareck El Aissami, May 10, 2019 in Caracas The first of five oil tankers sent by Iran to him for Venezuela providing fuel entered the waters of this country on Saturday, escorted by military vessels of the Venezuelan forces, announced the Minister of Petroleum Tareck El Aissami. This oil tanker from "our sister the Islamic Republic of Iran" is "in our exclusive economic zone," the minister said on Twitter. Around 9:00 p.m.

“ Iran and Venezuela are two independent nations that have had trade with each other and they will” in the future. But that all changed late Sunday, when Iran also had been suspected of briefly seizing a Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker just before that. Iran seized ships last summer and the U . S . accuses it

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, but its production is in freefall, a collapse that experts attribute to failed policies, lack of investment and corruption. Iranian fuel starts arriving in Venezuelan waters despite U . S . warning. Reuters. Iran to reopen religious, cultural sites - president.

“Thank you, brothers,” Venezuela’s oil minister, Tareck El Aissami, said in a Twitter post. “This energy cooperation points to the benefit and development of our peoples.”

The shipments, which total 1.5 million barrels of gasoline, are a small reprieve for the embattled country, enough to satisfy Venezuelan demand for about two weeks. Though it has the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela’s lifeblood energy industry has crumbled amid a seven-year economic depression and rampant corruption. Oil production has fallen to about 600,000 barrels a day from 3 million a decade ago and refineries are in poor shape.

A rash of U.S. sanctions leveled more than a year ago against Venezuela’s oil sector has sent President Nicolás Maduro’s government scrambling for new fuel sources. Amid the shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic, shortages force citizens to line up for more than a day for gasoline. With no way to power farming equipment, much of the country’s little food output rots in the fields, according to Venezuela’s national agricultural federation.

Iranian fuel shipment reaches Venezuelan waters

  Iranian fuel shipment reaches Venezuelan waters The first of five tankers carrying much-needed Iranian fuel and oil products entered Venezuelan waters on Saturday, a Venezuelan government official said. The fleet is carrying about 1.5 million barrels of gasoline according to media reports, and arrives amid tensions between Tehran and Washington, which has imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports and Iran. Venezuela had said its navy and air force would escort the tankers after Tehran warned of "consequences" if the US stopped the ships from reaching their destination.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, but its production is in freefall, a collapse that experts attribute to failed policies, lack of The fuel from Iran comes at a time when the shortage of gasoline, chronic for years in parts Venezuela , has worsened in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Venezuelan state television showed images of a navy ship and aircraft preparing to meet it. “We welcome the boats from the Islamic Republic of Iran , which will soon arrive at our fatherland’ s ports The shipments are bringing enough fuel for just a month of consumption at current rates in the nation

The daily struggles have even ardent Maduro critics hoping that the U.S. refrains from disrupting gasoline flow.

“There’s just no benefit to stopping the fuel because we really need it,” said Gilberto Morillo, a former finance director of state-oil-giant Petróleos de Venezuela SA, who still lives in Venezuela. “The sanctions aren’t responsible for what’s happening in the country, but in a way, they’ve pushed the regime to get closer to Iran and to radicalize even more.”

Iran and Venezuela, both founding members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, sought to build an anti-U.S. alliance more than a decade ago under the leadership of Venezuelan firebrand Hugo Chávez and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The two leaders signed business ventures including bicycle and tractor factories to housing construction in Venezuela.

That relationship concerned U.S. authorities working to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Mr. Chávez once publicly boasted that Iran was helping explore for uranium in Venezuela—a mineral used in some nuclear weapons. There’s no evidence that Mr. Chávez’s plans moved forward.

Idaho: Images of the Gem State

  Idaho: Images of the Gem State A few glimpses of Idaho’s landscape, and some of the animals and people calling it home

Both Venezuela and Iran have warned Washington not to interfere with the delivery. Venezuela is suffering a shortage of refined fuel , despite having the world' s largest oil reserves. Meanwhile, its sanctions on Venezuela are aimed at increasing pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to step down.

Venezuela ' s representative to the UN said his country had informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about the "threat of imminent use of military force by the United States" in view of the arrival of Iranian ships carrying fuel for Venezuela . In the message sent to Guterres, the diplomat emphasized

In 2009, American agents helped Turkey intercept Iranian vessels destined for Venezuela that were carrying nitrate and sulfite chemicals that could have been used for bombs or unmanned aerial vehicles prohibited under the arms-sale restrictions of the United Nations Security Council, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks.

Economic troubles and political turmoil in Venezuela doomed the business ventures. But the two nations renewed their efforts this year after Mr. Maduro appointed Mr. El Aissami to revamp Venezuela’s oil industry and effectively privatize oil fields, in a major reversal of Caracas’ state-led economic model.

In 2017, Mr. El Aissami was sanctioned by the U.S. as an alleged narcotics trafficker. Then in March, U.S. prosecutors indicted him along with more than a dozen Venezuelan officials on drug charges. The accusations, which Mr. El Aissami denies, have effectively barred him from traveling to U.S.-allied nations, leaving Iran among Venezuela’s last partners.

“We are seeing countries under sanctions working together,” said Ali Soufan, a former U.S. counterterrorism official who now heads the Soufan Group, a New York consulting firm. For Iran and Venezuela, the “biggest common point is having the United States as an enemy. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

No more water, gasoline, TV ... the dramatic daily life of Venezuelans

 No more water, gasoline, TV ... the dramatic daily life of Venezuelans © Pixabay No more water, gasoline, TV ... the dramatic daily life of Venezuelans Already hit hard l 'hyperinflation, Venezuelans today face the devastating effects of the global health and economic crisis. Venezuela has surely never so little deserved its nickname of "Land of Grace", as the daily life of its inhabitants approaches the Stations of the Cross. Teodoro queues for gas, Yulimar waits for drinking water and Giovanny returns from satellite TV.

Since mid-April, Iranian carrier Mahan Air—also sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury—has transported technicians and some 700 tons of fuel-processing components, much of it from China, to Venezuela’s ailing Paraguana Refining Complex, said Iván Freites, a Venezuelan oil union leader. But the equipment hasn’t been enough to restore the decrepit Paraguana installations—the biggest refinery in the Western Hemisphere—that were custom designed decades earlier by major U.S. engineering firms, Mr. Freites said.

Despite capacity to process 1.3 million barrels a day, Venezuela’s refineries produce almost nothing. They are hobbled not only by old equipment but also by a lack of qualified technicians, many of whom have joined the exodus of 5 million refugees out of the country, said Mr. Freites. “Iran can’t save Maduro. This only buys time.”

Loly Dobarro, a former deputy oil minister under Mr. Chávez and ex-legal adviser for OPEC, said Iran’s oil deliveries won’t go far in her home country where gasoline is state subsidized and virtually free. Oil analysts estimate that Venezuela now uses about a quarter of the 700,000 barrels of fuel a day that it consumed when Mr. Maduro took office in 2013. Large portions of that oil was smuggled to neighboring countries, but no longer.

“The only solution is to pay real-world prices,” Ms. Dobarro said. “But this is a government of inaction so it’ll be surprising if they do anything” to fix those distortions.

The U.S. and its allies have deemed Mr. Maduro illegitimate since a 2018 election marred by fraud allegations. They back main opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s true president, though Mr. Maduro maintains control of the armed forces and most state institutions.

Mr. Guaidó in a recent address accused the Maduro government of paying for Iran’s help with tons of “blood gold” extracted from lawless and violent southern Venezuela, where Mr. Maduro has promoted mining to offset plunging oil revenue.

“Together, we can guarantee the development of our countries without being dependent on the White House and the gringos,” Iran’s ambassador Hojjatollah Soltani said on Union Radio in Caracas. 

Write to Kejal Vyas at kejal.vyas@wsj.com and Benoit Faucon at benoit.faucon@wsj.com

Against the economic crisis, Venezuela increases the price of gasoline .
© REUTERS / Ivan Alvarado A Venezuelan walks past a sculpture at the entrance to the national oil company PDVSA, in Caracas, May 17, 2019. (image d 'illustration) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Saturday May 30 an increase in the price of gasoline. So far, Venezuelans have only given a few worthless tickets to the country's pump attendant. Gas will now have a cost. These new prices will take effect this Sunday, May 31.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 14
This is interesting!