Iran Fuel Convoy Enters Venezuelan Waters With Needed Fuel

Venezuela paid in gold, Iran confirms

Three Iranian tankers carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of fuel have entered Venezuelan territorial waters, and are preparing to make deliveries in the next few days. Iran’s Gen. Yahya Safavi confirmed that Venezuela paid in gold, which has already returned to Iran.

Selling fuel to Venezuela is in violation of US sanctions, but then so is buying Iranian fuel. The US has at times gone after the tankers and seized some, but in this case that has not happened, and the tankers seem likely to safely arrive in Venezuela.

The gasoline shipments are increasingly vital, because Venezuela’s state-run oil company produces oil that is not of the correct purity for its own refineries. Historically, this meant exporting their oil and importing other oil, but US attempts at regime change have shut down that trade.

The lack of fuel is a huge problem, and farm yields in Venezuela have plummeted. Iran’s supplies allow Venezuela to keep the economy limping along, though the US continues to make moves to limit this and tighten down on them even more.

One tanker of gasoline believed to be en route to Venezuela, the Alkimos, arrived in the US today, where its fuel will be seized and sold at auction. The ship was chartered by Panama’s Sea Energy, who deny that the fuel was ever going to Venezuela, and claim that it was bound for Aruba.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.