Biggest Iranian Flotilla En Route to Venezuela With Fuel
ICBPS- The Islamic Republic of Iran sends its biggest fleet yet of tankers to Venezuela in defiance of U.S. sanctions. Tehran dispatches its biggest fuel shipment en route to its malicious ally to help the isolated state weather a crippling fuel shortage.
Some of the flotilla of about 10 Iranian vessels will also help export Venezuelan crude after discharging fuel, the people said, asking not to be named because the transaction is not public, according to Bloomberg.
The Nicolas Maduro regime is widening its reliance on Iran as an ally of last resort after even Russia and China have avoided challenging the U.S. ban on trade with Venezuela. The country’s fuel crunch follows decades of mismanagement, corruption and under-investment at state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela since the time of Maduro’s late mentor and predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
In early October, an Iranian tanker carrying petrol has allegedly reached the Venezuelan coast. Iran shipped 820,000 barrels of gasoline to Venezuela by three tankers in September.
The Iran-owned tanker Fortune is to unload its shipment after the prior one Forest reached the Venezuelan water on September 28, 2020.
In May, Iran also sent five tankers containing 1.5 million barrels — at least $45.5 million worth of gasoline and similar products.
Forest carrying fuel reportedly reached Venezuelan waters amid escalating tensions between Washington and the two U.S.-sanctioned countries.
The Forest tanker was one of the three vessels carrying Iranian oil to Venezuela. The tanker was spotted off the northern Venezuelan coast in Soosereh State, according to El Nacional. “The whereabouts of other two tankers are still unknown,” reported the state-run Venezuelan newspaper at the time.
The tankers were expected to reach the country’s northern oil facilities and El Palito Refinery, in Puerto Cabello in northern Carabobo state.
The rich-oil south American country faces a drastic shortage of petroleum products due to its frazzle and out-dated facilities.
“Iranian gasoline shipments to Venezuela are made in exchange for gold bars,” said IRGC Maj. Gen Yahya Rahim Safavi.
“We gave Venezuela gasoline and received gold bars, and we took the bars to Iran by plane, to avoid setbacks along the way,” El Nacional quoted the IRGC commander-in-chief.
“We help the Maduro regime to form a mobilization force to prepare to fight the United States,” Radio Farda quoted the IRGC top general.
The U.S. has recently beefed up its naval presence in the Caribbean for what it said was an expanded anti-drug operation.
“Venezuela has had no revenue from its oil industry since October 2019,” said the country’s speaker of parliament.
During the reign of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has faced a severe economic crisis, which, in addition to the bankruptcy of the oil industry, has led the country to a sharp devaluation of its national currency and rampant inflation.
According to the U.N. census, about five million people have fled the country in recent years due to economic difficulties, food and medicine shortages.
Kaveh Taheri is a Turkey-based Iranian sociopolitical researcher and freelance journalist – Founder of ICBPS and ICBHR.
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