Iran warns against US aggression against its oil tankers in the Caribbean

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Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif has warned the United Nations that there will be “consequences” if the US acted against the Iranian oil tankers in the Caribbean.

In a letter sent to the UN chief, Antonio Guterres, Zarif said American “piracy” has threatened the “disruption of Iran’s fuel transmission to Venezuela”, adding that the US must abandon illegal maritime bullying which threatens international peace and security.

He stressed that the US administration should bear responsibility for the consequences of any illegal action against Iranian oil tankers and called on Washington to respect international maritime laws.

A senior official in US President Donald Trump’s administration revealed that the US was considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to crisis-stricken Venezuela.

The US has imposed unilateral sanctions aimed at ending oil exports by both Iran and Venezuela, both major crude producers.

Five Iranian tankers likely carrying at least $45.5m worth of petrol and similar products are now sailing to Venezuela, part of a wider deal between the two US-sanctioned nations amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The tankers’ voyage come after Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolas Maduro already turned to Iran for help in flying in chemicals needed at an aging refinery amid a petrol shortage, a symptom of the wider economic and political chaos gripping Latin America’s one-time largest oil producer.