Third Iranian tanker reaches Venezuelan waters

May 27, 2020 - 17:36

TEHRAN — The third cargo of an Iranian tanker flotilla carrying fuel for Venezuela on Tuesday reached the nation’s exclusive economic zone as the previous two were discharging at state run PDVSA’s ports, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

According to Reuters, the Iran-flagged tanker Petunia crossed the Caribbean Sea earlier on Tuesday, following the same route as vessels Fortune and Forest. The Fortune arrived on Monday at a port serving PDVSA’s El Palito refinery.

President Nicolas Maduro said he would announce in the coming days a “plan” for fuel distribution. Gasoline is so heavily subsidized that it is essentially free, but shortages have forced Venezuelans to either wait in days-long queues or pay steep prices on the black market.

“Now we will be able to go in phases toward a new normal in terms of gasoline supply,” Maduro said in a state television address.

The United States has criticized the shipment, as both OPEC nations are under sanctions. A U.S. official said earlier this month that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering responses to the shipment, prompting the Iranian government to warn Washington against military action.

The vessels did not appear to encounter interference during their journey.

The second tanker in the flotilla, the Forest, docked Tuesday at a port serving PDVSA’s second largest refinery, Cardon, in western Venezuela, according to two sources and the Eikon data.

Iranian Ambassador to Venezuela Hojatollah Soltani said on Monday that the U.S. abstention from aggression against Iranian tankers showed that there’s still wisdom in the U.S. establishment.

“The U.S. act of non-aggression against Iranian oil tankers showed that wisdom, foresight, and tactfulness is still alive at some levels of that country’s establishment,” Soltani wrote in a tweet.

“Those [individuals] should make the warmongers understand that observing international regulations and treaties by governments, including the U.S. government, will create a safer world for all countries including the U.S.,” he added.

The ambassador also said the United States has finally realized that fulfilling its commitments and responsibilities regarding international treaties is a good thing.

“It (the U.S.) should also know that Barjam (Iran nuclear deal), resolution 2231, NPT, not supporting terrorism, etc. are other international commitments that should be observed and implemented,” the ambassador added.

On Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran is always entitled to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and warned that if Iranian oil tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world get into trouble by the Americans, Tehran will definitely retaliate.

“Although some of the U.S. measures have created unacceptable conditions in different parts of the world, we will not be the initiator of tension and clash,” Rouhani said in a phone call with the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.