First Iranian Tanker 'Fortune' Enters Venezuelan Exclusive Economic Zone, Tracking Data Shows

Iranian Tankers Carrying Gasoline Approach Venezuela

He was responding to an urgent question on Government's policy on facilitating in any way the passage of Iranian-flagged ships carrying petroleum products to Venezuela.

"If our oil tankers in the Caribbean Sea or anywhere else in the world get into trouble caused by the Americans, they (US) will run into trouble reciprocally", the Iranian president said in a telephone conversation with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Saturday. Ships to arrive tomorrow. Critics blame corruption and mismanagement by the socialist administration amid an economic crisis that has led to huge migration by Venezuelans seeking to escape poverty, shortages of basic goods and crime. Maduro's forces had infiltrated the group long before the operation and allowed it to proceed, then capturing and killing them in the process, and accusing opposition president Guaido of bankrolling the incursion, giving Washington any...

An earlier report in argusmedia.com (an independent London-based media organisation) said Iranian ships with fuel for Venezuela could be headed to TT.

"We have always had the legitimate right to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity and to serve our national interests, and we hope that the Americans will not make a mistake". Venezuelan officials paint them as a threat, but USA officials have not announced any plans to intercept the Iranian tankers. However, the Trump administration has increased pressure on Maduro, recently offered a $15 million bounty for his arrest after a US court indicted him as a narcotrafficker.

A force of US vessels, including Navy destroyers and other combat ships, patrol the Caribbean on what USA officials call a drug interdiction mission. The U.S. says these nations are engaged in "malign activities and meddling" around the world.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump's National Security Council tweeted: "The importation of Iranian gasoline is an act of desperation by the corrupt & illegitimate Maduro regime".

Iran's foreign ministry has said any attempt by the U.S.to stop them will be met with "a swift and decisive response". Tehran, in response, promised "retaliation" if the USA moves to act against the ships.

Venezuela's defense minister said its military will escort the Iranian tankers once they reach the nation's exclusive economic zone, 370 kilometers (230 miles) from the shore.

"(That) would needlessly undermine the narrative that Venezuela, with the world's largest proven oil supply, has to import gasoline from Iran of all places because they have become such an worldwide pariah", Farnsworth said.

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