Iran warns US not to interfere with tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela

Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran, on 23 May. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, warned on Saturday of retaliatory measures against the US if Washington causes problems for tankers carrying Iranian fuel to Venezuela.

“If our tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world face trouble caused by the Americans, they [the US] will also be in trouble,” Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with the emir of Qatar, the semi-official news agency Mehr reported.

A flotilla of five tankers carrying Iranian fuel for gasoline-starved Venezuela is approaching the Caribbean, with the first expected to reach the country’s waters on Sunday, according to Refinitiv Eikon tracking data.

“Iran will never initiate a conflict,” Rouhani said. “We have always the legitimate right to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity and to serve our national interests, and we hope that the Americans will not commit an error.“

Iran is supplying about 1.53m barrels of gasoline and alkylate to Venezuela, according to both governments, sources and calculations made by TankerTrackers.com based on the vessels’ draft levels.

The shipments have caused a diplomatic standoff between Iran and Venezuela and the US, as both nations are under US sanctions. Washington is considering measures in response, according to a senior US official who did not elaborate on any options being weighed.

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About Cholo Brooks 12187 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.