After defying US sanctions and shipping a cargo of oil condensate to Venezuela last week, Iran is using the same ship to help the Latin American country export its crude oil to the international market.
The Iranian supertanker ‘Horse’, is loading a shipment of Venezuela’s top exported grade Merey 16 crude oil at Venezuela’s government-owned and controlled port of Jose, according to a shipping report seen by Bloomberg. The shipments give some respite to the nation’s struggling oil industry, as most shipowners are now avoiding doing business with the country for fear of the unilateral sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
The vessel, which just unloaded 2 million barrels of Iranian condensate, turned off its satellite signal during the voyage to avoid detection after the US intercepted several shipments of gasoline going to Venezuela in August.
Bloomberg reported that the ship had arrived to Venezuela last week though ship-tracking signals still showed the ship off the coast of Dubai.
Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves, has not been able to find ships willing to risk sanctions and possible acts of piracy in international waters by the US Navy after the Trump administration announced punitive sanctions on the owners of six vessels for transporting Venezuelan crude oil to international markets.
The Treasury Department eventually removed the vessels from the sanctions list without making a formal explanation but the US has illegally pursued and harassed foreign vessels carrying products to or from Venezuela and seized more than a million barrels of gasoline while in transit.
The latest fuel shipment is expected to be sold in Asia, the main destination of Venezuelan crude.
PDVSA declined requests by Bloomberg to comment on the latest developments. Venezuela’s information ministry and the US State Department didn’t return an email seeking comment.
In addition to the shipment of condensate for Venezuelan refineries, Tehran has recently supplied 1.5 million barrels of gasoline and has also established a supermarket chain in Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is also reported to be considering the purchase of Iranian missiles. LINK
In Iran, the second-in-command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the US has failed in its attempt to form an anti-Iran alliance, warning Washington against any act of adventurism against Tehran.
“If Americans commit a new act of folly, they will receive a heavy blow far beyond their imagination,” Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network on Wednesday.
The senior IRGC commander also said that the US “will not succeed in achieving its goals of imposing an arms embargo on Iran.”
He warned the Americans that they are within reach of Iran’s armed forces if they commit any foolish acts while they are in the Persian Gulf region.
Tehran has repeatedly declared that it does not seek war with the US, but that its armed forces stand ready to defend its interests in the region. LINK
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