Venezuela To ‘Protect’ 5 Inbound Iranian Tankers With Ships & Planes Military Escort
Venezuela To ‘Protect’ 5 Inbound Iranian Tankers With Ships & Planes Military Escort from Zero Hedge
Though largely off the mainstream media’s radar amid all things pandemic related, we’ve been closely following the saga of Iran’s provocatively sending five fuel-laden tankers to gasoline-starved Venezuela, despite repeat and growing threats of US intervention against the brazen sanctions-busting mission.
And now surely escalating matters from Washington’s point of view, the Maduro government has vowed it will provide navy ships and military aircraft to escort the inbound Iranian fuel tankers.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Wednesday that the military escort will be prepared to defend the ships once they enter Venezuela’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends 200 miles off the coast — this after Trump was previously reported to have ordered a US naval build-up in the Caribbean in order to thwart sanctions-busting and narco-trafficking conducted by the Latin American country.
“When they enter our exclusive economic zone, they will be escorted by Bolivarian National Armed Forces boats and planes to welcome them in and thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation,” Padrino said on state television.
He underscored that he was closely coordinating with Iran’s defense minister, also after Washington has focused on the sanctioned Iranian airline Mahan Air’s flights in and out of Caracas of late, said to be carrying vital equipment for Venezuela’s derelict fuel refineres, needed for domestic gas consumption.
Meanwhile, Reuters details that the tankers are expected to arrive within the next weeks:
The tankers – Fortune, Forest, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel – are carrying around 1.5 million barrels of fuel, and passed the Suez Canal in the first two weeks of May, Refinitiv Eikon data show. They are expected to arrive in Venezuela between late May and early June.