Venezuelan military to escort Iranian tankers delivering fuel

TEHRAN, May 21 (MNA) – Venezuela's military will escort Iranian tankers delivering fuel to the country when they enter Venezuela's exclusive economic zone, the country's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Wednesday.

In a state television interview, Padrino said the escort would "welcome them in and thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation," Reuters reported. Padrino also said that the Venezuelan government had been in contact with Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, according to Sputnik.

Tanker monitoring groups said at least five Iranian-flagged tankers are transporting fuel to Venezuela through the Atlantic Ocean despite US sanctions targeting both Tehran and Caracas.

The US Navy is said to have deployed its USS Detroit (LCS-7), USS Lassen (DDG-82), USS Preble (DDG-88), and USS Farragut (DDG-99) to the Caribbean along with its patrol aircraft Boeing P8-Poseidon for a possible encounter with the Iranian vessels.

In a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday, Zarif described "the illegal, dangerous and provocative US threats [against the Iranian tankers]" as a form of piracy and a big threat to international peace and security. He then highlighted the responsibility of "the US administration with regard to the consequences of any illegal move, reiterating Iran's right to adopt appropriate and necessary measures in the face of such threats.

Tehran also summoned Swiss ambassador whose country represents US interests in Tehran, to voice the country's vehement protest at US provocations.

ran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said that any US harassment of Iranian tankers will be met with a decisive response.

“Any disruption for tankers is against international regulations and security,” Hatami said on Wednesday referring to the release of some reports on the threat of US officials to harass tankers carrying Iran’s fuel to Venezuela.

ZZ/SPUTNIK

News Code 158946

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