Iranian media has warned the USA not to try to stop an oil tanker heading for stricken Venezuela as there would be repercussions.
As the American-Iranian relationship disintegrates even further the Iranians are feeling the effects of the sanctions the US has placed on the Country. Both Iran and Venezuela are OPEC members and both are under sanctions imposed by the US.
“Venezuela and Iran are both independent states that have had and will continue to have trade relations with each other,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei was quoted as saying by the YJC news website, linked to Iran’s state broadcaster.
“We sell goods and buy goods in return. This trade has nothing to do with anyone else. We have to sell our oil, and we have ways to do it,” Rabiei said, adding he had no information about the Venezuela-bound vessel.
The Iranians are threatening any US ships as well as those of its allies should there be any action against Iranian ships trying to ship their oil. The Iranians see this as legitimate business that they are conducting. The US administration sees it with a completely opposite view, hence the escalating tensions between the two Countries.
Recently the US authorised the assassination of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani who was the leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, and at the forefront in expanding Iran’s military influence in the Middle East authorising clandestine operations outside Iran. The 62-year-old general was regarded as the second-most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. That event was seen as a bitter blow to the Iranians who retaliated with firing missiles at an American base in Iraq. There were no casualities.
The ship carrying the oil has sailed to Venezuela as reported by vessel-tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon. How the US responds to this action which breaks existing sanctions imposed on Iran remains to be seen.