It appears that Round 1 of the latest confrontation between the US, Venezuela and Iran has concluded with a victory for the allied forces of the Resistance. While the arrival of the first of five Iranian vessels carrying petroleum to Venezuelan waters, where it was met by an escort provided by the Venezuelan Navy and Air Force, will no doubt be portrayed by many as a humiliation for Trump given his bellicose statements and threats over the last week, the US decision to not intercept the first vessel could also be interpreted as a small step towards reason, maintaining the possibility at least of a return to diplomacy in the future.
The arrival late on Saturday night of the first of the Iranian vessels transporting gasoline to cover a severe fuel shortage in the South American country following several years of unilateral US sanctions is the result of one of many cooperation agreements between both nations that cover various sectors, including energy. Earlier this month the two countries signed agreements related to tourism and commercial interactions, supplementing previous agreements including for the production of tractors and unarmed drones in Venezuela.
The four other ships completing the fuel shipment, Petunia, Forrest, Faxon and Carnation, are expected to arrive over the next couple of days.
— 🇮🇶Iraq & Middle East Updates (@IraqLiveUpdate) May 24, 2020
The arrival of Fortune to Venezuela’s Exclusive Economic Zone occurred without incident and the boat was met by the Venezuelan navy. The crew of the Venezuelan escort ship Yekuana thanked the Persian nation for the support it is providing to Venezuela in its fight against the US blockade.
Telesur shared on Twitter the welcoming words, in which it was recalled that both Venezuela and Iran are being affected by the application of coercive, unilateral, arbitrary and illegal measures imposed by the United States.
#ENVIDEO | Desde los cielos de las aguas jurisdiccionales de Venezuela, @madeleintlSUR nos informa minuto a minuto sobre la llegada de los buques iraníes con combustible y aditivos químicos para la producción de gasolina a aguas jurisdiccionales de Venezuela pic.twitter.com/nUZmaatVpq
— teleSUR TV (@teleSURtv) May 24, 2020
“In accordance with maritime law, international law, and naval agreements, and as a gesture of friendship, we will accompany you under the protection of our escort to your destination port,” the official greeting confirmed.
“Venezuela and Iran continue to be points of reference for revolutionary processes in Latin America and the world. We are sure that with the cooperation and solidarity of the Iranian people we will advance together to guarantee the full freedom and happiness of our sister nations,” the Venezuelan official added.
In response, the Iranian crew thanked the Venezuelans for their warm welcome and stated: “Your message is well received for me and my crew… Thank you very much for your support and I hope everything ends safely and calmly.”
The Iranian vessel is heading to the port of the El Palito refinery, located in the municipality of Puerto Cabello, on the shores of Carabobo state.
The Guardian noted in a related report that although Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had warned the US Iran would respond to any attempt to intercept the shipment, he also added:
“Iran will never initiate a conflict. We have always the legitimate right to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity and to serve our national interests, and we hope that the Americans will not commit an error.”
La @ArmadaFANB escolta al buque tanquero Fortune procedente de la República Islámica de Irán, una de las cinco embarcaciones cargadas con combustible que son enviadas desde la nación Persa. @NicolasMaduro @vladimirpadrino @CeballosIchaso pic.twitter.com/Z5OirRB8Vc
— Armada Bolivariana (@ArmadaFANB) May 24, 2020
The New York Times meanwhile repeated the claims that the fuel shortages in Venezuela are a result of ‘corruption and mismanagement by the socialist administration’ rather than the US’ sanctions and blockade, however if this were the case the sanctions and blockade would hardly be necessary. The report also states:
“Maduro holds on to power with support from Venezuela’s military and his international allies, also including Cuba, Russia, and China. The U.S. says these nations are engaged in “malign activities and meddling” around the world.
“We will not abide by their support of the illegitimate and tyrannical regime of Nicolás Maduro,” the Trump administration said in a statement, citing its “maximum pressure” campaign against the socialist leader. “Will continue until Maduro’s hold on Venezuela is over.”
Such statements take on a surreal quality when compared to Trump’s relations with countries such as Saudi Arabia, suggesting the real concern of the US warmongers is not democracy and the welfare of the Venezuelan people but the US leaderships’ geopolitical and economic interests.
#Hoy Momento del encuentro en el océano Atlántico de la #FANB con el Buque Fortune, como muestra de solidaridad con el pueblo de Venezuela. @NicolasMaduro @vladimirpadrino @CeballosIchaso @PresidencialVE @PrensaFANB @Libertad020 @VTVcanal8 @TVFANB @ActualidadRT @dcabellor pic.twitter.com/qnqdgtGaBE
— Armada Bolivariana (@ArmadaFANB) May 24, 2020
Meanwhile, the US has taken another major step in its campaign of maximum pressure against Venezuela with the illegal expropriation of Citgo, a major producer and distributor of gasoline in the US.
The Venezuelan government condemned the decision of the District Court of Delaware regarding the forced judicial sale of the shares of the Citgo company, owned by PDVSA (the Venezuelan State-owned oil company), as constituting an act of modern piracy.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza released an official statement declaring that the judicial sentence is evidence of a plan by the Trump administration to confiscate the assets of the Venezuelan people and its PDVSA, in this instance using the deputy of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, as an accomplice. Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela last year during a street protest, a theatrical gesture that received the immediate support of the Trump administration.
“For such purposes, they have delegated to the deputy Juan Guaidó and his accomplices the establishment of a fraudulent representation of the Republic and PDVSA, which is not only illegal, but is to the detriment of the national interest, for the benefit of interventionist intentions.”
Arreaza warned that faced with this act of arbitrariness and modern piracy, those who have investments in the United States should remain vigilant, as the case is indicative of the actions that the US Government is willing to carry out, even in contravention of international and domestic law, to impose their interests on strategic foreign investments.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- As Showdown Looms Over Iran’s Oil Shipments To Venezuela, US & NATO Forces Poised For Possible Interception
- Venezuela: US ‘Maximum Pressure’ Continues, More Details Of Failed Mercenary Attack Revealed