Venezuelan UN envoy warns of US military threat on Iranian oil tankers

TEHRAN, May 23 (MNA) – Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Samuel Moncada, in a tweet, warned of a military threat which he argued is posed by the US to Iranian tankers heading to the South American country.

In a tweet on Friday, Moncada announced that Venezuela had alerted the UN Security Council and its Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of "the threat of imminent use of military force by the United States against Iranian vessels carrying Venezuelan-directed gasoline". 

In another tweet, Moncada insisted that an "armed attack on tankers, exercising free trade and navigation between sovereign nations, is a crime of aggression".

He added that "a naval blockade is aggravated by the fact that it aims to deprive an entire population of its vital means of subsistence" and that "it is a crime of extermination".

Iran has also warned of repercussions from the potential interception of Iranian tankers by the US.

In a phone conversation with Emir of Qatar on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the Islamic Republic will respond to any possible US aggression against Iranian oil tankers in the Caribean Sea or any other point in the world.

On May 20, Iran’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.

“Both international organizations and countries that are sensitive to water regulations and security must react to this issue,” he added.

As reported, a flotilla of five tankers carrying Iranian fuel for Venezuela is approaching the Caribbean, with the first vessel expected to reach the South American country’s waters on May 23.

According to Refinitiv Eikon tracking data, Iran-flagged tanker Fortune, the first in the flotilla, was approaching the Caribbean Sea on Friday. It has been navigating with its satellite signal since it passed the Suez Canal earlier in May. The four other vessels are following the same route across the Atlantic Ocean, Reuters reported.

Iran is supplying about 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate to Venezuela, according to governments, sources, and calculations made by TankerTrackers.com based on the vessels’ draft levels.

Venezuela’s defense minister said its military will escort the Iranian tankers once they reach the nation’s exclusive economic zone.

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News Code 159031

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