Iran Willing To Continue Fuel Shipments To Venezuela If Asked

Elias Hubbard
June 1, 2020

The supply is meant to ease fuel shortages that have plagued the country.

The first of five Iranian oil tankers arrived in Venezuela last week to help ease fuel shortages, encountering no immediate signs of U.S. military interference.

Speaking from Caracas, he said prices at these stations would be set at 50 United States cents (RM2.17) per litre.

"We have decided that 200 service stations will be allowed to sell this product at an worldwide price", president Nicholas Maduro said Saturday, announcing an end to the state monopoly on fuel.

The deliveries took place despite United States warnings of fresh sanctions on both Tehran and Caracas, although officials in Washington stated that there are no current operations planned to stop Iranian tankers en route to the South American country.

Defying U.S. threats, Iran has sent a flotilla of five tankers of fuel to the South American oil-producing nation, which is suffering from a gasoline shortage.

Venezuelans have spent hours or even days in line for gasoline in some areas of the country as fuel shortages intensify in the past two months.

The deliveries took place in the face of USA warnings of fresh sanctions on both Tehran and Caracas, which was preceded by White House officials stating that there were no operations planned to stop Iranian tankers which were en route to Venezuela.

Venezuela's oil sector has been damaged by years of political and economic instability - operating well below capacity since the USA imposed sanctions in 2017.

Its refining network is believed to be operating at around 10 percent of its 1.3 million-barrel-per-day capacity.

Of 1,800 stations in Venezuela, about 240 have remained working since Maduro announced coronavirus-related lockdown measures in March, which included restrictions on fuel sales due to very low inventories.

Seeking to deter further shipments of Iranian fuel to Venezuela, Washington is monitoring the original supply.

Iran earlier rejected what it described as "baseless" allegations by US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams who asserted that Tehran is supplying Caracas with equipment needed to restart the South American country's refineries in exchange for gold from Venezuelan reserves.

Maduro has withstood more than a year of US-led efforts to remove him and retains the support of the military.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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