Two Iranian fuel tankers reach Venezuelan territory

The Associated Press reported that two Iran-flagged ships reached Venezuela and a third is on its way without US interference. Together they are carrying 815,000 barrels of fuel.

al-monitor Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami (L) speaks next to Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino (R) after the Iranian oil tanker Fortune docked at El Palito refinery in Puerto Cabello, in the northern state of Carabobo, Venezuela, on May 25, 2020. The Fortune has apparently returned to Venezuelan waters, according to reports on Sept. 30, 2020. Photo by AFP via Getty Images.

Oct 1, 2020

Two Iranian fuel tankers have reportedly reached Venezuela with a third ship set to dock soon. Their arrival constitutes a success for the two nations sanctioned by the United States following an August seizure of such fuel.

The Iran-flagged ship Forest reached a Venezuelan port Tuesday. A second Iranian ship, the Fortune, entered Venezuelan waters Wednesday. The Forest brought 275,000 barrels of gasoline, The Associated Press reported.

A third Iranian ship, the Faxon, is expected to arrive this weekend; the three are collectively carrying around 815,000 barrels of fuel in total, the AP said.

Ship tracking data from the website Marine Traffic showed the Fortune just off Venezuela’s northern coast today. The website’s most recent signal from the Faxon showed it west of Africa last week.

The United States sanctions both Iran and Venezuela and vocally opposes their relations. Iran and the South American country are close politically and economically as a result.

In August, the United States seized four tankers it said were carrying Iranian fuel to Venezuela. The owners of the fuel subsequently challenged the move in a US court, and the cargo, also reported to be gasoline, is apparently still at sea in a legal limbo.

The arrival of the Forest and the Fortune into Venezuelan territory happened without interference from Washington.

Both Iran and Venezuela have difficulty selling their oil due to pressure from the United States. Venezuela has a need for refined fuel and condensates from Iran because its refining industry has gone into a decline for various reasons, which include a shortage of processing materials and parts, the sanctions, the country's instability and poor management.

The United States continues to impose new sanctions on the countries. In August, the Department of the Treasury designated companies allegedly doing business with the Iranian airline Mahan Air.

“The Iranian regime uses Mahan Air as a tool to spread its destabilizing agenda around the world, including to the corrupt regimes in Syria and Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the time.

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