Tankers carrying Iranian fuel head to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions on both countries

A flotilla of five tankers carrying Iranian fuel for the failed socialist state of Venezuela, —where gasoline and oil are in desperate need despite the country being a major oil producer—, is approaching the Caribbean, with the first expected to reach the country’s waters on Sunday.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said Venezuela’s navy and air force will escort the Iranian tankers, seeing them through the nation’s maritime territory and into port.

The Trump administration is weighing new sanctions and other legal steps to disrupt Iranian oil exports to Venezuela, US officials said, in response to the Islamic Republic’s attempts to make inroads into Latin America.

US sanctions forbid Iran from selling oil. The US is also pressuring all countries against supplying fuel to Venezuela, as part of Washington’s efforts to drive the socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro from power.

Russia, China, and Turkey have also backed dictator Maduro.

Earlier this week, the dictator announced that Venezuelan Armed Forces conducted missile tests in La Orchila, an island in the north of the country, as they wait for the arrival of the tankers.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened the United States if Washington caused problems for the tankers.

“If our tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world face trouble caused by the Americans, they (the US) will also be in trouble,” Rouhani said in a phone call with Qatar’s Emir.

“The Americans are basically against all popular revolutions and independent countries and seek world hegemony by suppressing them,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Venezuela’s new envoy in Tehran.