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Spotlight: Iran's tankers' cross into Venezuela waters "defies" U.S. sanctions: Iranian expert
BY 2020-05-26 16:27:15

by Hassan Rouhvand

TEHRAN, May 25 (Xinhua) -- An Iranian expert says the arrival of Iran's fuel tankers to the Venezuelan shores has defied U.S. sanction pressures against Tehran and Caracas.

The deal between Iran and Venezuela which came amid unprecedented U.S. sanctions on both states is primarily a "humiliation' of U.S. policies, Foad Izadi, a professor at the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran, said in an interview 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. 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 U.S. 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 President Nicolas Maduro was using gold from central bank reserves to pay Iran, and the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran's shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

However, Iranians warned the United States against any move which may cause trouble for the Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel vessels.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday 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."

In the meantime, Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the naval forces of the country would escort the Iranian tankers "to welcome them ... and their solidarity" with Venezuela amid the U.S. sanctions.

Izadi said that "the successful measure by Iran (to supply its petrol to Venezuela) would ultimately result in the failure of U.S. sanction mechanism."

"This also shows that the U.S. 'maximum pressure campaign' has been seriously challenged by the Islamic republic," he said, adding that Tehran could maintain this "pragmatic win-win" policy.

Iran's "successful" move will serve as an example for other countries who are under the duress of the United States, he added.

(Editor:Grace) (From:xinhua)
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