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Venezuela calls on EU to ‘reconsider’ its ‘permanent interference’

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Interference

“Venezuela hopes that the EU will recover BALANCE and RECONSIDER its positions of permanent interference in our internal affairs.

“Its clear alignment with Washington’s strategy of aggression and its support for the unconstitutional acts of the extremist opposition,’’ Arreaza tweeted.

The minister made the comment a day after Caracas declared German ambassador, Daniel Kriener, persona non grata, accusing him of interference.

Germany is one of the countries backing opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president and is trying to oust President Nicolas Maduro from power.

“Kriener was at Caracas airport waiting for Guaido when he returned from a Latin America tour on Monday,’’ the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said.

However, diplomats from other European countries, the U.S. and Latin America were also at the airport, and it was not clear why the government focused its criticism on Germany.

Venezuela earlier severed diplomatic relations with the U.S. and Colombia, both of which have lent strong backing to Guaido.

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said that his country’s support for the opposition leader remained “unquestionable.’’

However, Maduro also stood his ground, calling on Venezuelans to have “nerves of steel”.

“In the face of the imperial aggressions, I ratify before any circumstance: nerves of steel, calm and sanity, full awareness and permanent mobilisation, we shall continue to win’’ he tweeted.

Defence Minister, Vladimir Padrino, said on Wednesday that the government was evaluating permanent military deployment plans “to face imperial aggressions against the fatherland’’.

Guaido said that Kriener’s expulsion was a threat to Germany.

“The Maduro administration was verbally threatening the ambassador and his physical integrity is also at risk,’’ the opposition leader told Thursday’s edition of Germany’s Spiegel news magazine.

According to him, Maduro is not able to declare an ambassador persona non grata, because he occupies the presidency illegally.

“He had, therefore, asked Kriener to stay,’’ Guaido said.

The Maduro government had declared the diplomat persona non grata on Wednesday and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours.

According to Guaido, it is not necessary for the German government to expel the Venezuelan ambassador from Berlin in retaliation “because he is no longer recognised’’.

“We have already named a new diplomatic representative in Germany,’’ he said.

Guaido called on Europe to clearly reject the deportation and to tighten financial sanctions against the Maduro government.

The European Commission’s foreign policy spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, also reacted to the expulsion.

“We regret the fact that German ambassador is pressed to leave the country.

“In spite of a tense and complex political context, the European Union has been keen to maintain lines of communication with all key parties in Venezuela, including the government of Maduro.

Foreign

Iran ready to send more fuel to Venezuela: spokesman

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Iran is ready to send more fuel shipments to Venezuela if there is a request, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday.

Mousavi slammed United States attempts to block Iran’s trade with other countries, saying that “if Venezuela makes a new request for (fuel) delivery, more shipments will be sent.”

“It is Iran’s natural right to defend its (economic) interests even in faraway places,” Mousavi said in his weekly press conference.

Last months, five Iranian oil fuel tankers arrived at Venezuela shores.

Washington has threatened to take action against the Venezuela-bound fuel tankers, including blacklisting the crew and the tankers.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

Iranian fuel reaches Venezuelan stations as prices set to rise

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Fuel shipped from Iran began arriving at Venezuela’s gasoline stations on Saturday, just hours before President Nicolas Maduro announced higher prices at the pump that are set to end more than two decades of almost-free gasoline.

As authorities in the country with the world’s cheapest gasoline got ready to expand retail sales under a system combining subsidies and international prices, the fifth cargo of an Iranian flotilla approached the Caribbean Sea and is expected to reach Venezuelan waters on Sunday, according to Refinitiv Eikon.

Of 1,800 stations in Venezuela, about 240 have remained working since Maduro announced coronavirus-related lockdown measures in March, which included restrictions on fuel sales due to very low inventories.

More than 1,500 stations nationwide are expected to work in the coming days under the new system.

The new system includes monthly quotas for vehicles and motorcycles, automated sales and monitoring equipment.

Despite the price increases, it will cost about $1 to fill a whole tank of a vehicle under the subsidy.

After reaching the quotas, drivers will have to pay internationally indexed prices.

The remaining 200 stations will be supplied by independent companies, so drivers buying at those sites will be charged $0.50 per litre of gasoline and will have to pay in foreign currency.

Lines of drivers began forming at stations on Saturday in cities including Maracay, Valencia and Caracas in anticipation of the gasoline distribution.

Gasoline has been heavily subsidised in Venezuela, which, coupled with hyperinflation in recent years, has made it almost free, but acute scarcity has recently encouraged a black market that has forced people to pay at least $2 per litre.

Venezuela’s refineries, which can produce more than 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of fuel, have worked at less than 20 per cent of their capacity in 2020 mainly due to power outages and lack of spare parts.

As the U.S. sanctions imposed on Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA have also limited the sources and types of products Venezuela can import, Maduro’s socialist administration this year turned to Iran for refining parts and fuel.

The supply has been criticised by the U.S. as both nations are under sanctions.

“Venezuela has the right to buy in the world whatever it wants to buy,’’ Maduro said.

Fortunately, Venezuela has more friends than what people can imagine.’’

Washington has warned governments, seaports, shipping firms and insurers that they could face sanctions if they aid the Iranian supply, the U.S. special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said on Friday.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, said his government will use Abrams’ comments as proof in an international case against sanctions.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Venezuela envoy says fuel deal symbol of solidarity with Iran

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Venezuela’s Ambassador to Iran Carlos Antonio Alcala Cordones on Wednesday said that the shipment of fuel from Iran to his country is a symbol of solidarity between the two nations amid U.S. sanctions.

The arrival of Iranian fuel tankers in Venezuela “signifies the courage of two nations which have not given in to the pressures,” Cordones told Tasnim news agency.

He also praised the two sides for “favoring fair trade and building bilateral ties on the basis of mutual trust and friendship.”

Iran’s fuel export to Venezuela, despite the U.S. threats, has opened a new chapter in trade exchanges “in defiance of the U.S. government’s bullying, unilateral and extraterritorial policies,” he said.

Five Iranian-flagged vessels left the southern ports of the country in mid-March to the Caribbean shores.

According to the recent reports, three of the tankers have docked at the ports of Venezuela.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Spotlight: Iran’s tankers’ cross into Venezuela waters “defies” U.S. sanctions: Iranian expert

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An Iranian expert says the arrival of Iran’s fuel tankers to the Venezuelan shores has defied U.S. sanction pressures against Tehran and Caracas.

The deal between Iran and Venezuela which came amid unprecedented U.S. sanctions on both states is primarily a “humiliation’ of U.S. policies, Foad Izadi, a professor at the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran, said in an interview on Sunday.

On Sunday, the first vessel of Iranian five-tanker flotilla loaded with gasoline crossed into the Venezuelan territorial waters, escorted by the the Venezuelan navy. On Monday, two other tankers entered the Caribbean Sea and are heading to the Latin American country’s refinery ports.

Squeezed under economic pressures, both Iran and Venezuela struggle to evade the impacts of embargos by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Islamic republic has a surplus of oil and gasoline, due to a significant drop in its exports pursuant to the sanctions and global economic setback caused by novel coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Venezuela is in dire need of fuel because of its aged refinery facilities and inefficient energy management, which has made it rely on its imports.

Under these circumstances, Tehran and Caracas made a “win-win deal,” according to Izadi, at the end of last year, and the Iranian-flagged vessels left the southern ports of the country in mid-March to the Caribbean shores.

Last week, the White House announced that President Nicolas Maduro was using gold from central bank reserves to pay Iran, and the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

However, Iranians warned the United States against any move which may cause trouble for the Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel vessels.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that “if Americans create problems for our oil tankers in the Caribbean waters or in other parts of the world, we will reciprocally create problems for them.”

In the meantime, Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the naval forces of the country would escort the Iranian tankers “to welcome them … and their solidarity” with Venezuela amid the U.S. sanctions.

Izadi said that “the successful measure by Iran (to supply its petrol to Venezuela) would ultimately result in the failure of U.S. sanction mechanism.”

“This also shows that the U.S. ‘maximum pressure campaign’ has been seriously challenged by the Islamic republic,” he said, adding that Tehran could maintain this “pragmatic win-win” policy.

Iran’s “successful” move will serve as an example for other countries who are under the duress of the United States, he added.

(XINHUA)

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Iran warns U.S. against causing trouble for Iran’s Venezuela-bound fuel vessels

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday warned the United States against causing trouble for the Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel vessels, official IRNA news agency reported.

“If the United States causes any problem for our oil tankers in the Caribbean Sea or any other parts of the world, it will run into trouble reciprocally,” the Iranian president said in a telephone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

While highlighting Iran’s right to defend its national interests, Rouhani said his country will never be the initiator of any conflict with the United States.

He expressed the hope that “the Americans would not make a mistake” concerning the Iranian vessels.

The White House announced last week that the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

(XINHUA)

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Iran warns U.S. off threats against Iranian Venezuela-bound fuel tankers

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The Iranian defense minister on Wednesday warned the United States off any threats against the Iranian oil tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela.

Any threats for the tankers will trigger Iran’s harsh response, Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency.

Causing any insecurity to the oil tankers and maritime trade routes is in violation of the international law and will draw reaction of international institutions and countries, said Hatami.

“Our policy is also clear, and we won’t tolerate any disturbance for our tankers,” he noted.

Ali Rabiee, spokesman for Iran’s government, said on Monday that Iran was ready for the worst-case scenario over U.S. threats against the shipment of Iranian fuel to Venezuela.

The remarks by the Iranian officials came after the White House announced last week that the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

(XINHUA)

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Iran says ready for worst-case scenario amid U.S. threats over fuel shipment to Venezuela

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Iran is ready for the worst-case scenario over U.S. threats concerning the shipment of Iranian fuel to Venezuela, spokesman for Iran’s government Ali Rabiee said on Monday.

Iran and Venezuela interact within the framework of healthy and regular business exchanges and their relations do not concern any other country, Rabiee said during his weekly press conference.

His remarks came after the White House announced on Thursday that the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to the crisis-stricken Venezuela.

Iran will take appropriate actions internationally to protect freedom of navigation, Rabiee said.

“We hope that the United States would not make such a mistake,” he said, adding that “however, we take all the possibilities into account and we are ready for a worst-case scenario.”

On Sunday, Iranian officials warned that any attempt by the United States to block the country’s fuel delivery to Venezuela would trigger an “immediate” response from the Islamic republic.

(XINHUA)

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Roundup: Iran warns U.S. against attempts to block fuel delivery to Venezuela

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Iranian officials on Sunday warned the United States against any attempt to block the fuel delivery by Iranian tankers to Venezuela.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday that “the illegal, dangerous and provocative U.S. threats” against the Iranian tankers is a form of piracy and a big threat to international peace and security.

“The United States must stop acting as a bully at the international level and respect the rule of international laws, in particular the right to free shipping in free waters,” he said in his letter.

Zarif noted that the U.S. administration would be responsible for the consequences of any “illegal move” in this regard.

Iran preserves the right to adopt appropriate and necessary measures in the face of such threats, he added.

In the day, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi summoned the Swiss ambassador, whose country represents U.S. interests in Tehran, to voice Iran’s strong protest at what he called U.S. “provocations.”

Araqchi urged the Swiss ambassador to convey “the Islamic Republic’s serious warnings to the American officials against any possible threat posed by the U.S. to the Iranian oil tankers.”

Iran and Venezuela enjoy “completely legitimate and legal trade relations,” Araqchi said.

Araqchi also said that any threat against his country’s tankers will elicit Iran’s “immediate and categorical reaction, and the U.S. administration will be responsible for their consequences.”

On Saturday, Hamid Hosseini, the spokesman for the Iranian Association of Exports of Crude Products, said that the United States would be practically unable to block shipments of fuel from Iran to Venezuela at a time when the two countries need to cooperate to mitigate the impacts of American sanctions on their energy sectors.

Washington is extremely angry about Iran’s delivery of fuel to a location near its borders despite various sanctions it has imposed on Tehran’s shipping and energy sectors, Hosseini was quoted as saying by Press TV.

“Gasoline shipment is not one that could be intercepted or attacked,” Hosseini said. “It would be a remote possibility for the U.S. to block the gasoline export shipment,” he added.

He described Iran’s decision to ship large consignments of gasoline to Venezuela as a right move which is meant to help Caracas tackle its fuel shortage.

He also said Iran should continue to export more of such shipments in the future to offset a reduction in domestic demand for the fuel which has come as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, Western media reported that “at least one tanker carrying fuel loaded at an Iranian port has set sail for Venezuela … which could help ease an acute scarcity of gasoline in the South American country.”

Accordingly, the White House announced on Thursday the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

Earlier, western reports also said that the Venezuelan government officials piled large sum of gold, an amount equal to about 500 million U.S. dollars, on Tehran-bound jets in April as payment for Iran’s assistance in reviving Venezuela’s gasoline refineries.

On May 11, the Iranian ambassador to Caracas, Hojjatollah Soltani, denied that his country had received gold bars from Venezuela in return for its services to the restoration of Venezuelan gasoline refinery.

The news claiming that Venezuela is raiding its gold vaults and handing tonnes of bars to Iran through recent Mahan Air flights is a “big lie” and “baseless” claims, said Soltani.

In recent days, commercial flights had been made from Iran to Venezuela for the transfer of equipment to reactivate the Paraguana Refinery Complex, Soltani said.

“The Iranian government’s cooperation with Venezuela has expanded in the time of novel coronavirus crisis, and our relations, especially in the area of trade cooperation, are stronger than ever,” the Iranian ambassador stressed.

(XINHUA)

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Iran warns U.S. against attempts to block fuel delivery to Venezuela

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday said that the U.S. attempts to disrupt the course of Iranian tankers carrying fuel for Venezuela are “dangerous” and “provocative” acts, Press TV reported.

In a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday, Zarif described “the illegal, dangerous and provocative U.S. threats” against the Iranian tankers as a form of piracy and a big threat to international peace and security.

“The United States must stop acting as a bully at international level and respect the rule of international laws, in particular the right to free shipping in free waters,” he said in his letter.

Zarif noted that the U.S. administration would be responsible for the consequences of any “illegal move” in this regard.

Iran preserves the right to adopt appropriate and necessary measures in the face of such threats, he added.

On Wednesday, Western media reported that “at least one tanker carrying fuel loaded at an Iranian port has set sail for Venezuela … which could help ease an acute scarcity of gasoline in the South American country.”

Accordingly, the White House announced on Thursday the United States was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

(XINHUA)

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