Petroleum iranians: Venezuela caught in the tensions between Washington and Tehran

Pétroliers iraniens: le Venezuela pris dans les tensions entre Washington et Téhéran

It is a breath of fresh air that the government of Nicolas Maduro promises with the arrival of petroleum iranians in Venezuela, which is going through a shortage of gas. But these shipments glory Caracas at the center of the conflictual relations between Iran and the United States for more than 40 years.

The fleet of five oil tankers the iranians, who are expected to arrive in Venezuela in the next few days, carry a total of 1.5 million barrels of fuel, according to the local press. Fuels in which Venezuela needs. For more than two months, the country is in sec. crude production has plummeted and its refineries are largely idle.

What are the consequences of the arrival of the five ships the iranians?

Increased Tensions with Washington

By sending its oil across the Atlantic, Iran “poses a challenge” to the United States. If the oil come ashore safely on the coast of venezuela, it “might be interpreted as a sign of weakness” of the administration of president Donald Trump, notes the analyst José Toro Hardy, the former ceo of PDVSA, the state-owned oil company of Venezuela.

Tehran, an ally of Nicolas Maduro, has warned in recent days that there would be “consequences” if the United States, which have military vessels in the region, prevented the delivery of these petroleum products in Venezuela.

The admiral Craig Faller, who heads the Southern command of the United States in the Caribbean, said Washington was following “with concern” the actions of Iran with regard to Venezuela, not specifically express on the oil in iran.

At the center of these skirmishes, verbal, Venezuela “is drawn” to a ” geopolitical problem “, said Mr. Toro Hardy.

In fact, the government of Nicolas Maduro is a steadfast partner of the islamic Republic against the american Empire that it vitupère constantly. Mr. Maduro was one of the first to condemn the american attack in which died the general iranian Qassem Soleimani in January in Baghdad.

New sanctions

Venezuela and Iran are under sanctions for the us economy that hit their oil industry respective. The sending of the ships the iranians in Venezuela could be worth “more sanctions,” says Giovanna Michelle, an expert in international relations.

In the eyes of the United States, “she continues, Venezuela is a” State run “. The administration, Trump said that Nicolas Maduro hosts cells of lebanese Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, and regarded as terrorist by Washington. According to it, the Oil minister of venezuela, Tareck El Aissami has close links with the movement, a shi’ite, that Caracas denies.

The american embargo on oil venezuelan strike already hit a sector in disarray. Venezuela produces more than 620 000 barrels per day compared to three million a decade ago, according to OPEC.

What is the impact on the shortage of gasoline?

Fuels iranians are going to give “a little air” to Nicolas Maduro ” for a month “, but they are not going to “fix the very serious” shortage, emphasizes the analyst Luis Oliveros.

Before the containment is declared in mid-march because of the outbreak of coronavirus, Venezuela consumes between 70 000 and 80 000 barrels per day, ” notes Mr. Toro Hardy.

Currently, the offer is one-fifth of this volume, according to Luis Oliveros.

Venezuela is therefore caught in a vicious circle. Its coffers are empty because of the collapse of its crude production, it is no longer what to import fuel. And without fuel, the economic activity is stalled.

That wins Iran?

If Tehran manages to perpetuate its deliveries of fuel to Venezuela, it will have new markets for its petroleum products, sanctioned by the United States, ” explains Giovanna Michelle.

But the question remains : how Caracas, whose coffers are empty, he is able to pay Tehran?

The venezuelan government has nothing to say about this topic. The leader of the opposition, Juan Guaido accuses him, Nicolas Maduro to buy gas iranian with the gold extracted illegally in the mining areas of southern Venezuela. Charges supported by Washington.

“Disruption” for Trump

The sending of ships to the iranian creates a “disturbance” to Donald Trump who needs the vote of Americans of cuban origin and venezuelan in Florida, predominantly anti-Maduro, to be re-elected in November, points to Giovanna, Michelle.

She believes that it will not, however, to an escalation of the army. In the midst of a crisis of the coronavirus, and at least six months of the elections, “it is the least appropriate moment for that Washington opened a new front,” she says.

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