Trump Claims to Have Venezuela 'Surrounded' as Iranian Tankers Approach

Cheryl Sanders
May 23, 2020

Earlier in the day, Iran's defense minister warned the United States of a firm and crushing response should it continue to harass the country's ships and oil tankers in global waters.

Stating that any USA harassment of Iranian tankers will be met with a decisive response, Hatami said, "It is a kind of piracy".

He added, "Annoyance against fuel tankers runs contrary to worldwide law".

"Both global organizations and countries that are sensitive to water regulations and security must react to this issue", he added.

In a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday, Zarif described "the illegal, unsafe and provocative U.S. threats [against the Iranian tankers]" as a form of piracy and a big threat to worldwide peace and security.

Zarif has stressed that the US must give up bullying on the world stage and respect the rule of worldwide law, especially free shipping in the high seas.

"It would be condemned by almost every other country in the world as an abuse of USA power", he warned, adding that an "interdiction would give Iran grounds for retaliation against US military or civilian assets anywhere in the world at a time and place of its choosing" and risk opening up "an entire new front in an undeclared war" that has dragged on for years.

Admiral Craig Faller, head of the Florida-based US Southern Command, said Monday that the United States is following the Iranian actions 'with concern, ' but refrained from any comments on the tankers.

Iran has also warned that it will retaliate if the tankers are blocked.

"We want to ensure the full security of these commercial shipments from any act of piracy by the USA government, which has a long record in this regard", Rabiei told a press conference.

Iran is hopeful the USA will not resort to military action over it sending oil to Venezuela, the country's ambassador to the European Union told Euronews.

"The gasoline-carrying tankers were sent to Venezuela due to a request by the Venezuelan government", the spokesman explained.

US President Donald Trump's administration has imposed unilateral sanctions aimed at ending oil exports from Iran and Venezuela, both major crude producers.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump rebuffed suggestions the USA was behind what appeared to have been a bungled attempt to overthrow Mr Maduro.

He said the development is completely legitimate as opposed to maritime piracy "which is [something that is] mastered by the U.S".

Other reports by iNewsToday