Tehran is ready to continue fuel shipments to crisis-stricken Venezuela if its government requests that it does so, the Foreign Ministry said, as an Iranian tanker flotilla unloaded its cargo in Caracas’s ports.
The Islamic Republic “practices its free trade rights with Venezuela, and we are ready to send more ships if Caracas demands more supplies from Iran,” Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Monday.
Iran dispatched five tankers to deliver 1.5 million barrels of fuel to the South American nation, which has been plagued by an economic downturn that has shrunk its refining capacities. The first ships of the flotilla reached the country’s shores in early May.
This Monday, the last of five Iran-flagged vessels, the ‘Clavel’, arrived in Venezuela, making the mission a success. The delivery comes in defiance of the tough US sanctions that both nations are facing. Washington appears to be willing to sever the Iranian lifeline, although it didn’t explicitly say it intended to intercept the tankers.
Nevertheless, Caracas has previously warned that the Iranian ships faced “the threat of imminent use of military force” by the US Navy while en route to Venezuela. Tehran, in turn, promised to retaliate if any interference with the ships’ passage took place.
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