Iran warns against United States aggression against its oil tankers in the Caribbean

Iran warns against United States aggression against its oil tankers in the Caribbean”

The Trump administration official declined to specify the measures being weighed but said options would be presented to Mr Trump.

The US Navy has sent its P8-Poseidon patrol aircraft from the VP-26 Tridents as well as four warships to the Caribbean region for possible encounter with a group of Iranian super-tankers moving fuel to Venezuela, a report says.

US sanctions forbid Iran from selling oil and the also pressuring all countries against supplying fuel to Venezuela, as part of Washington's efforts to drive President Nicolas Maduro from power.

Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, in his conversation with the summoned Swiss envoy, stressed that the trade relations between Venezuela and Iran are absolutely legal. "This is a gross violation of worldwide law and of the fundamental rights of Venezuelans", Arreaza wrote on Twitter. "This hegemonic gunboat diplomacy seriously threatens freedom of worldwide commerce and navigation and the free flow of energy".

Raja said Refinitiv had no data on any Iranian petrol shipment ever going to South America before.

"It is not only unwelcome by the United States but it's unwelcome by the region, and we're looking at measures that can be taken", the official said, who indicated Washington believed with a "high degree of certainty" Caracas meant to pay for the fuel with gold.

Venezuela has one of the largest proven oil reserves in the world, but its crude is heavy and requires a considerable level of technology to be refined.

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All the vessels involved belong to Iranian state-owned or state-linked companies, flying under the Iranian flag.

In 2018, US President Donald Trump had withdrawn from a multi-nation nuclear deal with Iran, and imposed heavy sanctions on the country's economy.

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday renewed Iran's demand for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from the Middle East.

Both the US and Iran have weighed into Syria's conflict - Tehran backing the Damascus authorities, while Washington supported the Kurds - and both have been major geopolitical players in Iraq since the toppling of its former leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Khamenei said Americans' actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria had led to them being hated, according to a transcript of a speech to students published on his website.

He claimed this was due to what he called the U.S.' "warmongering, helping notorious governments, training terrorists, unconditional support for the Zionist regime's increasing oppression and their recent terrible management of the coronavirus" pandemic.

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