The first among five Iranian fuel-laden tankers has arrived in gasoline-starved Venezuela amid US threats to intervene against the ‘sanctions-busting’ activity by two official Washington enemies.
Reuters reports: “The tanker, named Fortune, reached the country’s waters at around 7:40 p.m. local time (1140 GMT) after passing north of the neighboring dual-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, according to vessel tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon.”
Maduro’s economy vice president and recently named oil minister celebrated on Twitter: “The ships from the fraternal Islamic Republic of Iran are now in our exclusive economic zone,” amid broader claims of ‘victory’ on state media.
And per Reuters: “Venezuelan state television showed images of a navy ship and aircraft preparing to meet it.”
The other trailing tankers are also expected to enter Venezuela’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), or within 200 miles of the coast, in the coming days.
Venezuela’s Yekuaka PO13 Ocean Patroller rendezvoused with the 1st Iranian tanker “Fortune” at 3pm on Saturday in international waters. This was the moment captured by @madeleintlSUR.
Iran’s IRGC-aligned Tasnim media hailed the safe arrival of the first tanker as “A turning point for Venezuela’s sovereignty and independence,” according to a state media report.
Over the past month Tehran and Caracas have become aggressively vocal in touting their “brotherhood” and joint defiance of Trump administration sanctions, for which US officials have recently threatened response, including the possibility of military intervention against the vessels in the Caribbean. Trump months ago reportedly ordered more Navy ships to the area to crackdown against what was dubbed the Maduro regime’s alleged narcotrafficking.
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