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'Iran tankers crossing into Venezuela defies US sanctions'

Monday - May 25, 2020 2:43 pm , Category : WORLD
Tehran, May 25 (IANS) Iranian fuel tankers crossing into Venezuelan waters has defied US sanction pressures against Tehran and Caracas, an expert said here.
The deal between Iran and Venezuela which came amid unprecedented US sanctions on both contries is primarily a "humiliation" of American policies, Foad Izadi, a professor at the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran, said on Sunday.
On Sunday, the first vessel of Iranian five-tanker flotilla loaded with gasoline crossed into the Venezuelan territorial waters, escorted by the the Venezuelan navy, reports Xinhua news agency.
On Monday, two other tankers entered the Caribbean Sea and are heading to the Latin American country's refinery ports.
Squeezed under economic pressures, both Iran and Venezuela struggle to evade the impacts of embargos by the administration of US President Donald Trump.
The Islamic Republic has a surplus of oil and gasoline, due to a significant drop in its exports pursuant to the sanctions and global economic setback caused by novel coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Venezuela is in dire need of fuel because of its aged refinery facilities and inefficient energy management, which has made it rely on its imports.
Under these circumstances, Tehran and Caracas made a "win-win deal", according to Izadi, at the end of last year, and the Iranian-flagged vessels left the southern ports of the country in mid-March to the Caribbean shores.
Last week, the White House announced that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was using gold from central bank reserves to pay Iran, and Washington was considering measures it could take in response to Tehran's shipment of fuel to the crisis-stricken South American nation.
However, Iranians warned the US against any move which may cause trouble for the Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel vessels.
President Hassan Rouhani said that "if Americans create problems for our oil tankers in the Caribbean waters or in other parts of the world, we will reciprocally create problems for them".
Izadi said that "the successful measure by Iran (to supply its petrol to Venezuela) would ultimately result in the failure of US sanction mechanism".

--IANS ksk/