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Venezuelan Navy and Air Force To Escort Iranian Oil Tankers

May 21, 2020 (EIRNS)—Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said yesterday that Venezuela’s navy and air force will welcome the Iranian tankers bringing gasoline to the country when they come within range of Venezuelan waters, seeing them through the nation’s maritime territory and into port. Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations Samuel Moncada warned that any U.S. attempt to stop the tankers would be illegal. “Forbidding those boats from reaching their destination would thus constitute a crime against humanity,” Moncada told a UN Security Council meeting called to discuss recent turmoil in Venezuela.

So far, the U.S. administration hasn’t said precisely what it might do if the Iranian tankers keep coming, restricting itself so far to veiled threats. Adm. Craig Faller, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, said May 18 that he was “concerned” by the news reports that Iran was shipping gasoline to Venezuela. He said it fits a larger pattern of Iran trying to gain “positional advantage in our neighborhood in a way that would counter U.S. interests.”

“I’ve seen those same news reports that the tankers are en route,” Faller said in a webcast event. “We see the long hand of that Iranian malfeasance at work each and every day.”

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