It was the latest flashpoint in a global showdown over Venezuela, with Western nations largely recognising Guaido as the legitimate head of state.
But Russia and China are still supporting the socialist Maduro and urging non-interference.
“This action represents a threat against Germany,’’ Guaido told Der Spiegel after Caracas declared ambassador Daniel Kriener persona non grata.
He and other diplomats had welcomed home Guaido at Caracas airport earlier this week.
“I hope that Europe reacts sharply to this serious threat against an ambassador,” Guaido added.
“Above all, they should tighten financial sanctions against the regime.’’
Germany is among many nations backing Guaido’s plan to install a transitional government ahead of free elections.
He denounces Maduro as a usurper, whose re-election in 2018 resulted from a sham vote.
Maduro says he is a victim of a U.S.-led coup attempt and “economic war”.
German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, on Wednesday, called Venezuela’s action “incomprehensible” and said Germany and its European partners would continue to back Guaido.
He said the ambassador would be returning home for consultations.
Guaido, however, said he had asked Kriener to stay since Maduro was not empowered to expel a diplomat as he was “occupying the post of president illegally.”
The international community should act to prevent Maduro using Venezuelan taxpayer funds to “kill critics of the regime and indigenous peoples, as is already happening at the border to Brazil’’.
He made this remark in reference to recent violence there.
France denies harbouring Venezuelan opposition leader Guaido in Caracas
France denied on Friday that Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido had taken refuge at any of its diplomatic sites in Caracas after the Venezuelan foreign minister said he was hiding in the French Embassy.
“Mr Juan Guaido is not at the French residence in Caracas.
“We have repeatedly confirmed this to the Venezuelan authorities,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in a statement.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told Union Radio on Thursday that Guaido was in the French embassy and also accused Spain of harbouring Leopoldo Lopez, another opponent of the government.
France in May summoned Venezuela’s envoy over accusations that President Nicolas Maduro’s government had been harassing its embassy in Caracas, including by cutting water and electricity to the ambassador’s residence.
Maduro has previously accused French Ambassador Romain Nadal of meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
Von der Muhll, the French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, added: “Only a democratic path with free, transparent, and credible elections will enable it (political crisis) to be resolved in the long-term and put an end to the suffering of the Venezuelan people.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Venezuelan foreign minister confirms Guaido hiding in French Embassy, extradition expected
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza confirmed on Friday, reports that opposition leader Juan Guaido is hiding at the French embassy in Caracas, saying that the Latin American country is awaiting his extradition.
Arreaza’s remarks come after President Nicolas Maduro hinted that Guaido was “hiding from justice,” sparking talks that the latter might be sheltering at a diplomatic location.
“We hope that these governments (of Spain, France) will act properly, comply with the legislation of the hosting country — in this case, Venezuela — and transfer fugitives from justice into the hands of Venezuelan justice,” Arreaza said in an interview to Union Radio.
Arreaza said that Lopez supervised Guaido and masterminded Operation Gideon, which was aimed at overthrowing Maduro.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Iran ready to send more fuel to Venezuela: spokesman
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.
Iranian fuel reaches Venezuelan stations as prices set to rise
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.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Venezuela envoy says fuel deal symbol of solidarity with Iran
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.
Spotlight: Iran’s tankers’ cross into Venezuela waters “defies” U.S. sanctions: Iranian expert
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.
Iran warns U.S. against causing trouble for Iran’s Venezuela-bound fuel vessels
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.
Iran warns U.S. off threats against Iranian Venezuela-bound fuel tankers
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.
Iran says ready for worst-case scenario amid U.S. threats over fuel shipment to Venezuela
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.
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