Envoy dismisses report of US’ seizure of Iranian fuel

TEHRAN, Aug. 14 (MNA) – Iranian ambassador to Venezuela has dismissed the reports of US’ seizure of Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel as a ‘lie’ and continuation of ‘psychological war’ against Iran.

In a tweet on Friday, Hojjat Soltani reacted to a report by Wall Street Journal which claims that the United States has seized the cargo of four allegedly Iranian oil tankers en route to Venezuela.

“This is another lie and act of psychological warfare perpetrated by the US imperialism’s propaganda machine,” Soltani wrote both in Persian and Spanish.

“Neither the vessels are Iranian, nor their owners or flags are related to Iran,” highlighted the ambassador.

“The terrorist Trump cannot compensate for his humiliation and defeat against the great Iranian nation by using false propaganda,” he added.

In the past, Iran managed to send five ships -- Fortune, Forest, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel -- carrying Iranian fuel to Venezuela in May and June to help revive oil refineries in the South American country, which is suffering from a severe fuel shortage caused by US sanctions.

Iran’s fuel shipments have drawn the ire of the US, which has imposed draconian sanctions on Iran and Venezuela with the aim of crippling their oil sectors.

Last month, US prosecutors lodged a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four other tankers that Iran wants to ship to Venezuela, a move seen as the latest attempt by the administration of US President Donald Trump to further exert economic pressure on the two countries.

The US, according to WSJ, seized the four vessels, called Luna, Pandi, Bering and Bella, on the high seas recently and they are now en route to Houston.

The United States had threatened stiff sanctions against foreign governments, shipping firms, seaports, and insurers if they aid the Iranian tankers.

In a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in May, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued a stern warning against the US' provocative acts through dispatching its naval forces to the Caribbean Sea with the goal of disrupting the course of Iranian tankers carrying fuel for Venezuela.

MAH/ 4998022

News Code 162233


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