US knows ‘dire consequences’ of any wrong move against tankers: ex-diplomat

TEHRAN, May 25 (MNA) – A former Iranian diplomat pointed to the need for expanding economic ties with Latin American countries while warning of repercussions of any US’s miscalculation with regard to Iranian tankers en route to Venezuela.

“Heavy consequences are awaiting according to the international law if the US and its friends seek to violate the interests of independent countries and they can no longer have any guarantee for the safety of their own trades,” Ramin Mehmanparast, a former spokesman for Iranian Foreign Ministry and also a former ambassador to Poland, told Mehr News Agency on Monday.

The remarks come as the first of the five Iranian fuel tankers arrived in Venezuela on Sunday despite US threats.

 “The fact that our tankers deliver the cargo to Venezuela using Iran’s flag shows the authority of the country and limitations of US forces’ measures and threats,” said Mehmanparast.

“With his move, Iran proved to the public opinion that countries can defend their interests according to their inherent rights and stand against US bullying,” he added.

He went on to highlight that “given its capacities, Latin America can safeguard our interests and we should seek expansion of economic ties with this region.”

The shipments have infuriated Washington as both Iran and Venezuela are under illegal US sanctions. The US recently beefed up its naval presence in the Caribbean for what it called an expanded anti-drug operation. Washington has also threatened to take measures, especially against Iran, according to a senior US official, who did not provide further details.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday warned of retaliatory measures against the United States if it caused problems for tankers. 

MAH/4933507

News Code 159064

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