The first of five Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela has moored at Venezuela’s El Palito refinery, Iran’s English-language Press TV reported on Monday.
Iran ignored warnings of retaliation from the US as the first of five Iranian tankers entered Venezuela’s exclusive economic zone on Saturday.
Iran is sending five tankers, loaded with a staggering 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and components to Venezuela, in a move criticised by US authorities as both nations are under US sanctions.
“The Iranian oil/chem Handymax tanker, FORTUNE, which loaded 43 million liters of gasoline during mid-March at Port Shahid Rajaee, Iran, has now moored at berth 2 at the refinery of El Palito, Venezuela, situated west of capital city, Caracas,” tweeted TankerTrackers.com.
A second vessel, the Forest, entered the Caribbean Sea on Saturday. The three remaining vessels were crossing the Atlantic.
The desperately needed shipments have caused a diplomatic standoff between the United States and Iran and Venezuela, which are under US sanctions.
Iran has warned of repercussions from the potential interception of Iranian tankers by the US In a phone conversation with Emir of Qatar on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the Islamic Republic will respond to any possible US aggression against Iranian oil tankers in the Caribean Sea or any other point in the world.
On May 20, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said that any US harassment of Iranian tankers will be met with a decisive response.
He said on Wednesday: “Any disruption for tankers is against international regulations and security,” referring to the release of some reports on the threat of US officials to harass tankers carrying Iran’s fuel to Venezuela.
“Both international organisations and countries that are sensitive to water regulations and security must react to this issue,” he added.