US-Iran heading for new tanker crisis over Venezuela

The last crisis erupted in May as five tankers sailed to Venezuela from the port of Shaheed Rajaee in Iran.

A crew member raises the Iranian flag on Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, as it sits anchored after the Supreme Court of the British territory lifted its detention order, in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, August 18, 2019.  (photo credit: JON NAZCA/ REUTERS)
A crew member raises the Iranian flag on Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, as it sits anchored after the Supreme Court of the British territory lifted its detention order, in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, August 18, 2019.
(photo credit: JON NAZCA/ REUTERS)
Iran is sending more tankers to Venezuela in what it calls legal trade between the two countries. It has challenges the US “failure” to prevent shipments of fuel from Iran to Caracas. Now Iran is testing the waters again and notes that US prosecutors have sought to seize the fuel shipments of “four Iranian tankers heading for Venezuela.”
The last crisis erupted in May as five tankers sailed to Venezuela from the port of Shaheed Rajaee in Iran. These tankers had been loaded in March with 42 million liters (1.5 million barrels) of gasoline, Iranian media says. Iran refines gasoline and Venezuela needs it, even though Iran produces oil. Iran and Venezuela both have economies that are suffering. Venezuela enjoys support from Russia and Turkey in its attempts to stop being isolated by the US.
Iran’s media says the US has failed in the past to overthrow the Venezuelan regime of President Nicolas Maduro. Iran is now closely following USS federal prosecutors attempts to prevent the delivery of the shipment. Iran says the four tankers are travelling under a Liberian flag, a common flag for international shipping. The US Treasury Department has targeted the captains of the previous tankers who sailed for sanctions.
The US appears to be seeking to seize the contents of these four tankers now on their way to Venezuela. The Associated Press reports that the US has advanced a civil-forfeiture complaint via the District of Columbia federal court alleging that a businessman brokered the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shipment. The IRGC is a designated terrorist organization according to the US.
Reports indicate some 16 tankers with oil from Venezuela are now at sea but many states don’t want to violate a US embargo. Reuters said on June 24 this equivalent to two months of Venezuela’s output. Caracas also lost a case in the UK this week relating to who has rights to Venezuela’s gold stored there. Opposition leader Juan Guaido was recognized as the legitimate leader of Venezuela in the case.


Tags Venezuela