Iranian fuel tankers to be escorted by Venezuela military

Iranian fuel tankers to be escorted by Venezuela military

Venezuela’s military will escort Iranian tankers delivering fuel to the gasoline-starved nation as soon as they enter the South American country’s exclusive economic zone, defense minister Vladimir Padrino said.

“When they enter our exclusive economic zone, they will be escorted by Bolivarian National Armed Forces boats and planes to welcome them in and thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation,” Padrino said on state television, adding that the government was in touch with Iran’s defense minister.

His comments came after Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said the shipment should “alarm” Latin America. Both OPEC members are U.S. adversaries whose oil industries are under U.S. sanctions. Trump administration officials say Washington is considering a response to the shipment, Reuters reported.

The tankers - Fortune, Forest, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel - are carrying around 1.5 million barrels of fuel, and passed the Suez Canal in the first two weeks of May, Refinitiv Eikon data show. They are expected to arrive in Venezuela between late May and early June.

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