On May 27, Petunia oil tanker entered the exclusive economic zone of Venezuela, becoming the third Iran-flagged vessel to reach the Latin country in the last few days.
Venezuela’s Telesur TV said Petunia crossed the Caribbean Sea and entered the country’s waters after being escorted by the Venezuelan Navy. The vessel is carrying 50,000 tons of gasoline and related products.
The Venezuelan Navy escorted two other Iran-flagged tankers, Fortune and Forest, which arrived in the last few days. Two other tankers, Faxon and Carnation, are currently en route to Venezuela.
Last week, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro thanked Iran for the fuel shipments, which are meant to help restart the oil production in the South-America country.
“Venezuela and Iran both want peace, and we have the right to trade freely,” Maduro said in a state television address, according to Reuters.
Both Venezuela and Iran are struggling due to strict sanctions imposed by the U.S. Washington threatened Tehran over fuel shipments to Caracas. However, the U.S. Navy took no action. Iran’s military vowed to retaliate to any attack on Iran-flagged tankers.
The arrival of all five tankers will be a major blow to the U.S. Washington is taking Iran’s threats seriously as it should be. In the last few years, Tehran demonstrated it will to respond to any provocation. The January 8 missile strike on U.S. forces in Iraq is the most recent example.