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Vladimir Lopez: Venezuela to escort Iranian tankers bringing needed fuel

Vladimir Lopez: Venezuela to escort Iranian tankers bringing needed fuel

Caracas, May 22 - Neftegaz.RU. Venezuela's defense minister Vladimir Lopez said that planes and ships from the nation's armed forces will escort Iranian tankers arriving with fuel to the gasoline-starved country in case of any US aggression.

Lopez said Venezuela's navy and air force will welcome the 5 Iranian tankers, seeing them through the nation's maritime territory and into port. He compared the fuel tankers to humanitarian aid that China and Russia have sent to help Venezuela combat the new coronavirus pandemic.

A force of US vessels, including Navy destroyers and other combat ships, patrol the Caribbean on what US officials call a drug interdiction mission. Venezuelan officials paint them as a threat, but US officials have not announced any plans to intercept the Iranian tankers, or threatened to try that. Both countries have been hit with US economic sanctions.

The 5 Iranian tankers now on the high seas are expected to start arriving to Venezuela in the coming days. They are carrying gasoline to help alleviate days-long lines at service stations even in Caracas, which had normally been immune to shortages as the capital and seat of political power.

In addition to sending the tankers, Iran has flown in shipments of a chemical needed to restart an aging Venezuelan oil refinery with the goal of producing gasoline.

While Venezuela sits atop the world's largest oil reserves, its oil production has plummeted in the last 2 decades, which critics blame on corruption and mismanagement under socialist rule. Recent US sanctions designed to force

For Iran's government, the business ties with Venezuela represent a way to bring money into its cash-starved coffers and apply its own pressure on Washington.

To read the article in Russian.