Iran warned that any “pirate-like” actions take by the United States against an Iranian fuel shipment to Venezuela would trigger Tehran’s “harsh response,” as reported Saturday by Iran’s Nour News Agency.
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"If the United States, just like pirates, intends to create insecurity on international waterways, it would be taking a dangerous risk, and that will certainly not go without repercussion," Iran's Nour news agency said.
Iran’s Fars News Agency claimed in a report on Saturday that the U.S. Navy has deployed its USS Detroit (LCS-7), USS Lassen (DDG-82), USS Preble (DDG-88), and USS Farragut (DDG-99) to the region along with P8-Poseidon.
The forces are deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility for a possible encounter with a group of Iranian super-tankers moving fuel to Venezuela.
The deployment was reported after Reuters quoted a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration as saying on Thursday that the United States is considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to Venezuela.
Both Iran and Venezuela’s oil industries are affected by unilateral U.S. sanctions that have resulted in a slowing down of the sector as well as shortages. However, at least one tanker carrying fuel loaded at an Iranian port has set sail for Venezuela, according to vessel-tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon to help the nation.
"Venezuela and Iran are both independent states that have had and will continue to have trade relations with each other," Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei was quoted as saying by the YJC news website, linked to Iran's state broadcaster.