Venezuela Military to Escort Iranian Fuel Tankers: Defense Minister

Venezuela Military to Escort Iranian Fuel Tankers: Defense Minister

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Venezuela's military will escort Iranian tankers delivering fuel to the gasoline-starved nation as soon as they enter the South American country's exclusive economic zone, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said.

Padrino said in a state television interview on Wednesday that the escort would “welcome them in and thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation,” adding the Venezuelan government had been in contact with the Iranian defense minister, Reuters reported.

Earlier in the day, Iran’s defense minister warned the US of a firm and crushing response should it continue to harass the country’s ships and oil tankers in international waters.

“We will definitely give a firm and decisive response if harassments continue or escalate,” Brigadier General Amir Hatami told reporters.

The US has recently intensified its anti-Iran rhetoric, threatening to seize or target Iran's fuel-carrying vessels crossing the Caribbean to sanctions-hit Venezuela.

US officials say Washington is mulling over possible measures against Iran in response to its fuel shipment to crisis-stricken Venezuela, according to reports.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday said the US’ provocative acts amounted to a form of piracy and constituted a big threat to international peace and security.

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