THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Tensions are rising between the United States and Iran over Iran’s violations of U.S. sanctions on the Venezuelan Maduro regime. Both Iran and Venezuela are under sanctions from the U.S., yet Iranian ships continue to deliver oil to Venezuela. Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran, warned of retaliation if U.S. forces attempted to impede the oil shipments from arriving at their destination. Iran has been criticized heavily by the U.S. for its attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.
Despite having the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuelan farmers cannot gain access to enough fuel to run their farming equipment. Many farmers in rural parts of the country are forced to wait at gas stations all day for gasoline. The only option for most is to pay for 30 liters, which translates to 7.9 gallons – which is not enough to run farming equipment for significant tasks. The other option is to resort to the black market where gas is around $4 a liter, or $15 a gallon. As a result of sanctions imposed by the U.S. meant to restrict Venezuela’s access to global markets, only one oil rig remained operational as of May.
Venezuela on Brink of Famine With Fuel Too Scarce to Sow Crops – Bloomberg – 6/11/20 Oil fields across Venezuela have shut amid the U.S.’s relentless campaign to cut the nation off from global markets. Evidence of fuel scarcity is everywhere. Ambulances can’t run, telecommunications networks are faltering and some farmers have given up altogether on machinery — using oxen instead.
Judge blasts prosecutors in Iran-Venezuela sanctions case – Star Tribune – 6/11/20 In an unusual reversal, prosecutors last week dismissed charges against Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, who had been found guilty in March of using a network of front companies to funnel through U.S. banks more than $115 million in payments related to a construction project in Venezuela to his family’s business in Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions.
Iran ‘imposed its will’ with Venezuela fuel shipment: Top general – Al Jazeera – 6/11/20 “By God’s grace, today we are witnessing the early and rapid decline of our archenemies, particularly the US. All of the symbols with which the US was presenting itself and was displaying an untrue image to the world are falling, and the US is tearing apart the image it had created about itself,” said Salami. “Unable to contain the coronavirus, the US is today in the worst economic conditions.”
Catherine Traywick on Twitter, 6/11/20: Venezuela’s fall from oil superpower to failing producer can be illustrated in one image: a single drilling rig working the world’s largest oil reserves.
Kayhan Life on Twitter, 6/11/20: Iran Will Continue Exporting Gasoline to Venezuela, Official Says Venezuela reportedly paid for the gasoline with gold. #Iran has also been helping Venezuela to restart one of its oil refineries for the past two months. @HaamedMohammadi#KayhanLife
IRI on Twitter, 6/10/20: #Iran is helping #Venezuela’s government tighten control over an increasingly desperate population, hoping it can leverage Iranian influence in Caracas into more influence in Latin America overall. @IRIglobal’s @StephenJohnson explains in @ForeignPolicy
Mehr News Agency on Twitter, 6/11/20: A former Iranian diplomat believes that #Iran’s measure to deliver fuel to #Venezuela in defiance of illegal US sanctions has sent a strong political message while also promoting the spirit of resistance.