UPDATED 6:50 AM PT — Thursday, May 21, 2020
The Venezuelan government is gearing up to escort Iranian tankers into the country. In a statement Wednesday, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino confirmed the government’s armed forces will accompany five Iranian vessels carrying millions of dollars worth of fuel.
This comes as the South American country is facing nationwide gasoline shortages.
“We’ve established contact with the Iranian defense minister and all those ships, when they enter our exclusive economic zone, they will be escorted by Bolivarian National Armed Forces boats and planes to welcome them in,” stated Minister Padrino. “And thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation in the midst of these difficulties that all of humanity is confronting in common.”
The Iranian foreign ministry has sent a letter, warning the US against taking any action against the Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela and says that any threat against them will be met with a ‘firm response’#Venezuela #Iran pic.twitter.com/NWBEQar79T
— CNW (@ConflictsW) May 18, 2020
According to reports, the move comes as Venezuelan officials hunker down against increased anti-trafficking patrols carried out by the U.S. Navy off the country’s coast. However, Washington has not yet indicated whether they will intercept the Iranian tankers.