Venezuela says Iran lucky to have no US embassy; 'petro' main tool for bypassing US sanctions

TEHRAN, Jul. 20 (MNA) – Venezuela's Ambassador to Tehran Jesus Gregorio Gonzalez Gonzalez hailed Iran’s chance to have no US embassy, saying what Americans do in all the embassies throughout the world is only to interfere in their affairs and their illegal demands are not met, they push for other measures, plots and coups.

Venezuela's Ambassador to Tehran Jesus Gregorio Gonzalez said when it comes to the cut in oil production, everybody talks about it being at zero level, however this is not true; Venezuela's oil output is not headed toward zero, he stressed, adding, “yes, production level has declined around a third of its previous level which is due to two reasons: first is the result of financial crisis of 2007–2008, during which many countries faced the liquidity problem and foreign exchange shortage which led to the steep fall in oil output; because of that, investment was not possible because there was no money, and this was not a problem only in Venezuela, but in the whole world which were forced to reduce their oil production level. Second, in political matters, Venezuela was hit by economic sanctions imposed by the United States, which also had its own consequences. They made some restrictions on our technologies and what we need to produce oil. And this is another reason that affects Venezuela’s oil production.

He ensured Venezuela is now pursuing some policies more seriously than last year, so that it can compensate for the shortfalls, during the next four years.

The said reasons are considered as a political tool US used against Venezuela's economy to achieve its goals; however, Venezuela is doing its job in the oil market, as before. It continues to export oil to the United States as before, e.g. we are selling oil to eight refineries in the US, but we face payment difficulties caused by sanctions.

And this also has a series of effects on our investment, especially in the oil field, so that they can use it as a tool to attack us.

He ensured Venezuela is now more seriously pursuing some policies than last year, so that it can compensate for the shortfalls, during the next four years.

“Many of our allies like China, India and Russia help us in this area and as you know, investing in the oil field needs a large amount of capital,” he explained.

Responding to a question on Venezuela’s oil import from the Islamic Republic, and the possibility of any increase in the amount in President Maduro’s new term, he said “Venezuela imports 400000 barrels of light crude from Iran and combines it with heavy oil of Venezuela to prepare it for export. Iran also faces some restrictions on its oil production.

Regarding the question on the agreement by major oil producers to pump more crude to help reduce prices and prevent a supply shortage, which is a significant reversal of OPEC’s strategy of curbing output over the past 19 months, Jesus Gregorio Gonzalez said Iran’s position on the issue is clearly announced, however, Saudi Arabia does not have an independent policy on the oil issue; Saudi Arabia, together with Russia, the world's two biggest oil producers, generate 11 million bpd per day, and this is due to their less problems with the United States.            

"We have a single position on oil in OPEC, but Saudi’s position is influenced by the political conditions. Indeed, Saudi Arabia does not have a consistent view on this issue, but anyway, they want to increase oil production, which is in line with the position of other members of OPEC so that they could cope with rising prices,” he noted, adding “since Saudi Arabia lacks a definite, constant, and especially independent policy on the oil issue, so its potential performance in the future cannot be evaluated.”

Gregorio Gonzalez underlined that Saudi Arabia has shown many contradictions in its approaches to oil issues, constantly changing its position. On the other hand, due to the fact that it produces a large amount of oil, it affects other members of the OPEC, including the UAE.

Saudi Arabia does not have an independent policy on the oil issue; Saudi Arabia, together with Russia, the world's two biggest oil producers, generate 11 million bpd per day, and this is due to their less problems with the United States.

Commenting on Saudi Arabia's promise to US president to produce 2 million barrels of oil per day and whether this violates OPEC's rules, Gonzales said “it definitely violates the rules, but the problem is they are not able at all to produce that much oil; Saudi Arabia pledges to OPEC, but does not have the potential and capacity to keep this promise.”

The Venezuelan ambassador to Iran, responding to a question on the critical status of Venezuela's national oil company PDVSA’s debts and the payment strategies in President Maduro’s new term, said “all important and big companies are in debt. They take loans to develop their activities, and this leads to debt creation. But there are two issues here: one is that all the companies have debts, and the other is that PDVSA is one of the largest oil companies in the world, which has many financial statements. Venezuela owns the world's largest oil reserves and needs some funds to make use of all its reserves for investment. Suppose you have an apple garden covering an area of at least 100,000 acres; you want to harvest your garden. In this case, you need to get a loan and spend a lot of money. But when your product volume is high, you may not have anything at that time to tap your garden, but your credit is the 100000 hectares where you can get apple from. Venezuela's oil company is also like this garden. PDVSA has a lot of resources in the oil field, but due to financial problems and lack of sufficient funds, it cannot make use of them to achieve whatever it wants.

Venezuelan ambassador, responding a question on oil-backed "petro" cryptocurrency and its role in improving the economic crisis in Venezuela, said “each petro coin is backed by Venezuela's massive oil reserves.”

Gonzales asserted that the petro price is correlated with one barrel of oil, adding that Venezuela is preparing a new cryptocurrency called “petro gold” that will be backed by precious metals.

He added that petro is said to have raised more than $5 billion from investors throughout the world so far, and will undoubtedly keep rising, and that the state-backed virtual currency reaffirms Venezuela’s economic sovereignty.

Petro helps us pay the world trade. It helps us not to be dependent on international entity such as the World Bank, and we have the freedom to act on our international payments.

Venezuelan ambassador stressed “maybe $5 million is a big money for a person, but for a country, it is a negligible amount. $5 billion is not enough to improve a falling economy of a country; Venezuela definitely needs much higher amounts to cope with its crisis, because our debts are far more than that. Anyway, petro is a way in which the government of Venezuela can get around the harsh US sanctions imposed upon us.

On the other hand, he added, petro helps us pay the global trade. It helps us not to be dependent on any international entity such as the World Bank, and we have the freedom to act on our international payments.

Mr. Ambassador said “currently, only the United States does not allow trading with petro, because we can circumvent the restrictions imposed by the US sanctions, through petro,” adding “all countries, depending on their financial power, can use cryptocurrency, like the way petro has also entered the global trading system.”

In response to the question on whether the Venezuelan government, in its new term, will implement plans other than petro to salvage its economy from crisis, he said “the new government will take office in January 2019, and it has new plans, including mining;” we have mineral products besides gas and oil, he added.

Jesus Gregorio Gonzalez asserted that, “as we have an active role in the steel industry in the world, we can also increase aluminum and iron production."

He also pointed to the tourism industry as the other section to be considered during the new term.  

Pointing to some agreements signed in agricultural and industrial fields, he said, “for the implementation of these accords, we have to wait for some domestic Venezuelan issues to be resolved. In the near future, we will implement our plans for the export of rice, coffee, cocoa, gold, and precious stones.”

Mehr News also discussed with Gonzales the US accusations against the Venezuelan elections and calling it a “sham” and President Nicolas Maduro’s decision to expel the top US diplomat in Venezuela and his deputy for conspiring against the government and trying to sabotage the presidential elections.

We do not have Iran’s chance to have no US embassy in Venezuela. Americans are not in Iran, and this is undoubtedly considered an advantage for Iran.

Asked whether President Maduro made a good decision to expel US diplomats regarding the current situation and the possibility of imposing next round of sanctions, he said “the first thing is that we do not have Iran’s chance to have no US embassy in Venezuela. Americans are not in Iran, and this is undoubtedly considered an advantage for Iran. What Americans do in all the embassies throughout the world is only to interfere in their affairs. When their illegal demands are not met, they push for other measures, plots and coups. They planned a coup against Chavez, all controlled by the US embassy. This is one of the reasons why Venezuela expels some American diplomats, including US former ambassador; Americans have conspired and tried to sabotage against the government, and took lots of measures to destabilize Venezuela.”

“Americans are constantly trying to accuse Venezuelan elections as “fake” and “illegitimate”, Gonzales said, adding “I think President Maduro was very tolerant and kind with them, since he expelled only two of them, instead of firing all of US diplomats from the embassy."

We are after communications with all the countries, in case they respect our sovereignty and independency; we have proved this in action several times before: Venezuela released American missionary Joshua Holt on the weapons charges and released many other prisoners of opposition groups, he noted, adding “however, US is after hostile policies against Venezuela; they have and will impose sanctions on us, and nothing will change their behavor."

“Americans are constantly trying to accuse Venezuelan elections as “fake” and “illegitimate”, Gonzales said, adding “I think President Maduro was very tolerant and kind with them, since he expelled only two of them, instead of firing all of US diplomats from the embassy."

US will keep on plotting against Venezuela, as they are doing against Iran during past 40 years, and against all people and all the governments throughout the world, he underlined.

Interview by: Lachin Rezaian

News Code 135885

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    • US 18:02 - 2018/07/20
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      It is note worthy to mention that Venezuela could have and should have had spent some the subsidy money on her oil infrastructure to keep her out put level to earn more money to keep her economy going