US Accuses Iran Tankers of Being ‘Distraction’ From Venezuela’s Problems

State Dept says goal is 'restoration of Venezuelan democracy'

The US State Department is continuing to express opposition to Iran’s shipment of gasoline to Venezuela, saying that the US is still weighing its response, and considers this a “distraction” from Venezuela’s other problems.

US sanctions have caused a number of shortages in Venezuela, particularly gasoline. Iran has sent five tankers of gasoline, and the fourth arrived on Thursday. The US has complained Venezuela is violating a ban on buying from Iran, and Iran is violating a ban on selling to Venezuela.

State Department says the goal is still the “restoration of Venezuelan democracy,” which is to say ousting President Maduro in favor of the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido. This remains US policy despite polls in recent months suggesting that there isn’t much interest within Venezuela for such a change anymore.

Maduro has promised changes to the fuel distribution system, trying to prevent future shortages. This is probably going to involve easing subsidies, as Venezuela simply can’t keep losing so much money on gasoline.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of