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Iranian fuel starts arriving in Venezuelan waters despite U.S. warning

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 01:49s - Published
Iranian fuel starts arriving in Venezuelan waters despite U.S. warning

Iranian fuel starts arriving in Venezuelan waters despite U.S. warning

The lead vessel of a five-tanker flotilla carrying fuel supplied by Iran to gasoline-thirsty Venezuela neared one of its state-run ports as President Nicolas Maduro thanked Tehran on Sunday.

Libby Hogan reports.

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Fuel sent from Iran was near to arriving in crisis-hit Venezuela over the weekend.

The first of five tankers was near a port close to the capital Caracas on Saturday (May 23).

That's despite a U.S. official's warning that Washington was considering a response to the shipment.

While Venezuela has one of the world's largest oil reserves - it's now in desperate need of refined fuel as it grapples with economic collapse.

And on Sunday (May 24), President Nicolas Maduro thanked Tehran on state TV: "To all of Iran, from the heart, [thank you] for your solidarity, for your support, for your courage, for your decision.

Yesterday the tanker arrived in Venezuela, at the end of Ramadan, the sacred month of our Muslim brothers.

The ship [named] Fortune has arrived." In total, Iran is providing just over one and a half million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela.

The shipments have caused a diplomatic standoff - between the US and Iran and Venezuela - that are both under US sanctions.

Venezuela's opposition has also condemned the shipment, as they are concerned about growing ties between Iran and socialist President Maduro, who has overseen a six-year economic crisis.

A second vessel, the Forest, also entered the Caribbean Sea on Saturday and the last three remaining vessels were crossing the Atlantic.

Venezuela's refining network has been operating this year at about 10% of its 1.3 million-barrel-per-day capacity.

While the Iranian shipments are a lifeline for Venezuela, it's only enough fuel for just a month of consumption at current rates in the nation, that was once a prominent fuel exporter.




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