Tehran — Iran said June 1 it would send more cargoes to Venezuela or any other customer on demand, defying US threats to deter shipments of its fuel.
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Iran has sold around 210,000 mt of gasoline to fuel-starved Venezuela by five tankers. The move both helped its fellow OPEC member, a political ally, and eased up the domestic glut. Iran's gasoline consumption has shrunk on the COVID-19 pandemic.
"If the Venezuelan government demands a new cargo, based on the grounds prepared, we will send it to this country or other countries," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on state television.
"What has happened by dispatching oil tankers to Venezuela was a legitimate trade in the view of the Islamic Republic, and Tehran and Caracas were entitled to it," Mousavi said.
"What the US is doing is an illegal sanctions and other governments don't have to obey it," he added.
The Trump administration has imposed strict sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, while threatening to deter the shipments. Tehran has repeatedly said its response to any interruption of the trade would be "firm."
Government spokesman Ali Rabiei echoed foreign ministry's position by stressing that Iran would "decisively trade commodities anywhere possible in the future too," the government news site dolat.ir reported.
State television reported that two of the five tankers carrying gasoline will enter Venezuelan waters June 1, while one was still unloading fuel and two others were shipped back to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf.