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He compared the fuel tankers to humanitarian aid that China and Russia have sent to help Venezuela combat the new coronavirus pandemic. A force of U. Venezuelan officials paint them as a threat, but U.
Lopez also said his country welcomes Iranian help, which he described as "humanitarian aid, just as we have received it from Russia, China and other countries of the world. Meanwhile, Maduro told state-run media that "we're ready for whatever, whenever," and thanked Iran for "all the support" for his country despite US threats. According to media reports, Tehran will receive at least nine tons of gold in exchange for gasolines supplies to Venezuela.
Millions of Venezuelans have left the country in recent years because of poverty. On Monday, the head of the US military's Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, said he was following the Iran's shipments to Venezuela "with concern"but played down the possibility of a confrontation. Queuing through the night for petrol.
Five vessels are on the high seas and are due to arrive in the coming days. The US, which has imposed sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, is reportedly considering steps to deter shipments.
Venezuela files claim for gold in UK vaults Why coronavirus could be catastrophic for Venezuela Venezuela crisis in words. Venezuela's defence minister said they would be "welcomed" into its exclusive economic zone, which extends km nautical miles from its shores.
The Venezuelan military will escort Iranian tankers delivering much-needed petrol to the country to prevent any attempt by the US to stop them. Related Topics.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump rebuffed suggestions the US was behind what appeared to have been a bungled attempt to overthrow Mr Maduro. In late March, Rosneft announced its surprise departure from Venezuela. Iran has also warned that it will retaliate if the tankers are blocked.
For months, the government circumvented its refinery problems by delivering crude oil in exchange for gasoline to its customers, mainly the Russian company Rosneft. But US officials have not announced any plan to stop the Iranian tankers.
Venezuela's permanent representative to the UN, Samuel Moncada, stressed that the tankers were "civilian vessels carrying vital goods for our people" and were "coming from a country that has engaged in legal trade with mine".
Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves, but production has plummeted in the last two decades and the country is in a deep economic crisis.
Coronavirus and falling petrol prices have further exacerbated the situation, as Venezuela's economy overwhelmingly relies on oil products. Since then, petrol has had to be strictly rationed, with people queuing up through the night to fill up no more than 30 litres. But the Trump Administration launched two rounds of sanctions in February and March against Rosneft affiliates for trading Venezuelan crude in international markets.