ON SUNDAY, the Iranian embassy in Caracas posted a video of the first Iranian oil tanker arriving in Venezuelan waters. ‘The first Iranian tanker reached the Venezuelan coasts. Grateful to the Bolivarian Armed Forces for escorting them,’ it tweeted.
The first of five Iranian tankers carrying 1.53 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate reached Venezuelan waters late on Saturday to ease the Latin American nation’s fuel crunch despite the US threats to sink the ships.
‘Iran and Venezuela have always supported each other in times of difficulty,’ Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted. ‘Today, the first ship with gasoline arrives for our people.’
The shipments have infuriated Washington as both Iran and Venezuela are under illegal US sanctions. The US recently beefed up its naval presence in the Caribbean for what it called an expanded anti-drug operation. Washington has also threatened to take measures, especially against Iran.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday warned of retaliatory measures against the United States if it caused problems for the tankers.
The Venezuelan military is escorting the Iranian tankers delivering much-needed petrol to the country to prevent any attempt by the US to stop them.
Venezuela’s defence minister said they have ‘welcomed’ the ships into its exclusive economic zone, which extends 370km (200 nautical miles) from its shores.
Venezuela’s permanent representative to the UN has urged US President Donald Trump to avoid an act of aggression based on the ‘wrong advice’ of warmongers.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Samuel Moncada cited an open letter to Trump written by a group of 14 retired experts of the US intelligence community, who warned him against a military attack on the Venezuela-bound Iranian fuel tankers.
‘The Iranian gasoline reaching Venezuela is a landmark in the struggle for sovereignty, independence and peace. Trump and his minions are thinking of a military attack against the tankers amidst the pandemic. His experts advise him otherwise,’ he wrote.
Moncada also enumerated the arguments provided by the experts against any ‘unnecessary adventure’ by the US against Iranian vessels, saying they believe that ‘the act of war does not serve US interests’.
Any such attack could trigger ‘unpredictable responses’ and lead to ‘unprecedented situations’ beyond US control, the Venezuelan envoy quoted the experts as saying.
He tweeted: ‘Warmongering Generals & advisers in Washington are playing with fire in a dangerous situation and exploiting Venezuelan extremists. They are seeking a war with Iran in the Middle East contrary to US interest.’
He further emphasised that Trump’s threats will not weaken Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro but rather strengthen him and unify most of the nationals against aggression.
In fact, the working people of the world will not stand by and watch if US imperialism seeks to take action against the Iranian ships.
US workers have seen US unemployment figures rocket up to 40 million in just months. They do not need a war against the Venezuelan people. They need a war of liberation against the US’ bosses and bankers! They know that the enemy is at home.
Any attack on the Iranian vessels must be met by political strike action by US and UK workers and workers throughout the world.
In fact the UK working class has a powerful role to play. Currently the Venezuelan government is taking legal action against the Bank of England after its refusal to return Venezuela’s gold reserves that it is illegally withholding from the Venezuelan people.
The TUC and all trade unions must take action to defend Venezuela and to make sure that the UK returns the stolen Venezuelan gold that it is illegally holding. The workers of the world must unite to defend Venezuela. It is still the case that ‘they have nothing to lose but their chains’.