Iran is warning the United States against threatening its tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela, where gasoline and oil are in desperately short supply despite Venezuela being a major oil production center. As many as five Iranian ships loaded with gasoline are believed to be on their way to the South American country. U.S. sanctions forbid Iran from selling oil and the U.S. is also pressuring all countries against supplying fuel to Venezuela, as part of Washington's efforts to drive President Nicolas Maduro from power.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote a letter Sunday to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about Tehran’s concerns over whatever action the U.S. might take. Iran “reserves its right to take all appropriate and necessary measures and decisive action...to secure its legitimate rights and interests against such bullying policies and unlawful practices,” Zarif wrote. “This hegemonic gunboat diplomacy seriously threatens freedom of international commerce and navigation and the free flow of energy.
Zarif said Iran would consider any “coercive measures” by the U.S. as a “dangerous escalation.” Iranian officials delivered a similar message to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran who handles all U.S. interests in Iran.
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