Defying the United States sanctions, Iranian vessels successfully shipped gasoline to Venezuela. “The arrival of Iranian tanker, carrying gasoline to Venezuela showed the message of authority and dignity of the Iranian nation to the world,” said Mojtaba Zonnour, representative of Qom in the Iranian Parliament.
Iran supplied about 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate to Venezuela. Even though Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves but due to corruption and mismanagement, the country’s production of gasoline has crashed in the last two decades.
According to Zonnour, non-aggression of the US against Iranian oil tankers was not due to their decency. The US knows that if they attack or harass Iranian interests, they have to pay higher and irreparable prices as well.
The US had imposed sanctions on “two nations it has identified as America’s greatest enemies”. The appeals to withdraw such economic sanctions, when the world is fighting a pandemic, has landed on deaf ears.
The Justice Department has indited Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro and several of his high ranking officials in the government of drug trafficking and money laundering. The Trump administration had also offered a $15 million bounty for his arrest.
“The administration is taking a kind of ‘kick them while they’re down’ approach, seemingly with the hope that by piling on sanctions and other actions, the administration can capitalize on the virus in Iran and Venezuela to spur greater public opposition to the incumbent governments and perhaps regime change,” observed Peter Harrell, a former senior sanctions official at the State Department.
Last month, US President Donald Trump ordered to deploy navy ships to patrol the Caribbeans, calling it an anti-drug operation. “As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus, there is a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain. We must not let that happen,” said Trump.
The Maduro government in Venezuala considered it a direct threat. According to Zonnour, the arrival and anchoring of Iranian vessels, carrying gasoline, in Venezuela was a firm and strong response to the excessive demands and adventurism of the United States, the issue of which caused US bogus grandeur to shatter.
He considered the measures taken by Iran in forwarding fuel to Venezuela as a seal of invalidity of unjust and illegal US sanctions and its allies.
The United Nations secretary-general António Guterres, and other top UN officials have called for a sanctions ceasefire around the world. “In a context of the global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us,” Michelle Bachelet, the UN commissioner for human rights, said. “The populations in these countries are in no way responsible for the policies being targeted by sanctions, and to varying degrees have already been living in a precarious situation for prolonged periods,” she added.
The Trump administration has responded saying that the sanctions are aimed at the government of Iran and Venezuala and not at its population.
The political standoff in Venezuala is fuelled by the US as Juan Guaidó, Maduro’s rival has Trump’s support and is considered as the head of the state by the US. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) turned down Maduro’s request for $5 billion in emergency aid funds, because of the lack of clarity of who was in charge.