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Iran is selling Venezuelan oil to Asian countries.

Image Credit: MarineTraffic.com/Mick Prendergast

Last week, an Iranian oil supertanker reached Venezuela, with reports claiming that Venezuelan grade Merey 16 oil was being loaded onto the Iranian oil tanker for sale abroad, most likely in Asia. The Iranian oil tanker Honey, also known by the name Horse, was seen docked at the Venezuelan port of Jose, according to a report released by Bloomberg. To avoid detection by US satellites, the Iranian supertanker turned off their transponder.

According to a Reuters report, the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, is selling crude oil to the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). The Iranian supertanker carried 2.1 million barrels of oil condensate which was used as a diluent for Venezuela’s heavy oil. The Iranian supertanker will carry 2 million barrels of Venezuela’s Merey 16 oil back to Iran.

Back in August, United States managed to intercept 1.116 million barrels of gasoline from Iran to Venezuela. The oil was being carried by four ships. Oil trading between the two countries continues despite the US sanctions. In an attempt to avoid detection and eventual sanctions, apart from turning off their transponders, shipping companies are changing their oil tankers’s names after leaving Venezuela. Some of the oil tankers that are transporting oil to Venezuela are the Fortune, Forest and Faxon. Between May and June, these three oil tankers along with two others delivered unknown quantities of crude oil to Venezuela.

United States imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil, in response to Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro oppression on the people of Venezuela. The US government supports the Venezuelan opposition, and the President of the United States, Donald Trump, has increased the sanctions on the oil rich country, further deepening the economic crisis the country is in. The sanctions were imposed not only due to corruption, but due to human rights violations, and to force the Nicholas Maduro to step down. The result was a six year economic collapse, with the general population of Venezuela starving. According to a study conducted by the United Nations World Food Programme, around one in three people in Venezuela are struggling to find some food to meet at least the minimum nutrition requirements.

Venezuela’s ally, Iran is also heavily sanctioned by United States for its nuclear energy exploration, and for this reason, Venezuela and Iran, both OPEC nations, found a common enemy, and have made efforts to boost their oil trade. Apart from oil condensate, it has also been reported that Iran has delivered 1.5 million tonnes of gasoline and food. The Venezuelan government is paying Iran with gold.

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