May 18, 2020
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned the US against disrupting its fuel shipments to Venezuela in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.
At least one tanker carrying fuel loaded at an Iranian port has set sail for Venezuela, according to vessel tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon on Wednesday, which could help ease an acute scarcity of gasoline in the South American country.
A senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration told Reuters on Thursday that the US was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.
“In his letter to Guterres, Zarif classified America’s illegal, dangerous and provocative threats as a kind of piracy and a great threat to international peace and security,” IRNA said.
The US will be responsible for the consequences of any “illegal” actions it takes against Iranian tankers, Zarif said, adding that the Islamic Republic has the right to take “appropriate and necessary measures” to counter US threats.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has also summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, urging him to communicate Iran’s warning to the US about any potential action against Iranian tankers, IRNA said. Switzerland has been the official protector of US interests in Iran since the relations broke off between Washington and Tehran in 1980.
“Any threat against Iranian tankers would be met with an immediate and decisive response from Iran, and America would be responsible for the consequences,” Araghchi warned.
An Iranian news agency close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Saturday there would be repercussions if the US acted “just like pirates” against an Iranian fuel shipment to Venezuela.
The oil sectors of Iran and Venezuela, members of OPEC, are both under US sanctions.