A senior source within the Iranian petroleum industry says the United States would be practically unable to block shipments of gasoline from Iran to Venezuela at a time the two countries need to cooperate to mitigate the impacts of American sanctions on their energy sectors.
Hamid Hosseini, who serves as the spokesman of the Iranian association on exports of crude products, said on Saturday that Washington is extremely angry about the fact that Iran can deliver fuel to a location near its borders despite various sanctions it has imposed on Tehran’s shipping and energy sectors.
“Gasoline shipment is not one that could be intercepted or attacked,” Hosseini told the semi-official ILNA news agency, adding, “It would be a remote possibility for the US to block the gasoline export shipment.”
Iranian authorities have yet to confirm reports they have ramped up assistance to Venezuela to restore an energy sector that has been beset by US sanctions as well as by strikes and protests in the country.
Unconfirmed reports over the past few days have suggested that at least five Iranian vessels are transporting fuel to Venezuela while other reports show that Iranian planes have delivered equipment to the South American country to rebuild its refineries.
Hosseini described Iran’s decision to ship large consignments of gasoline to Venezuela as a right move which is meant to help the country tackle its fuel shortage.
He said Iran should continue to export more such shipments in the future to offset a reduction in domestic demand for the fuel which has come as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic.
Recent government figures show gasoline consumption inside Iran has declined by nearly a third compared to November to stand at more than 55 million liters per day.
That comes as the country, once a net importer of gasoline, currently pumps more than 100 million liters per day of the fuel to respond to growing demands for exports.