TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sealed an agreement to export 20,000 barrels per day of gasoline to Iran, state TV reported Monday. The deal would give Tehran a cushion if the West carries out threats of fuel sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.
The two countries signed the agreement late Sunday during a visit by Chavez, who pledged to deepen ties with Iran and stand together against what he called the imperialist powers of the world.
Western leaders have threatened to impose further sanctions against it should Iran refuse to bend to deadlines for talks aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear activities. One idea that has been touted, though not yet formally proposed, is to cut off exports of gas station-ready fuel to Iran.
One of Iran’s weakest points is its dependence on fuel imports. Despite its vast oil resources, it lacks the refinery capacity to meet its own demand and must buy vast quantities of commercial-ready fuel on the open market.The Venezuelan fuel could help Iran if such sanctions are imposed.
“On the basis of a strategic decision, it was agreed to export 20,000 barrels a day of gasoline from Venezuela to Iran,” state TV quoted Chavez as saying at the end of his visit. The fuel shipments will begin in October.
Another reason why
sanctions won’t work
If the Russians continue to play by their own rule book, Venezuela can be assured that any calls for an increase in UN sanctions against the Iranian state, especially if they include the exporting of refined petrol, will be blocked by Putin in the UNSC.
And even in the event that the US managed to win Russian approval for the tougher sanctions, Venezuelan ships would be nonetheless quietly afforded protection by Putin, due to a quid-pro-quo agreement for a continued Russian naval presence in Venezuela.
Without a credible US foreign policy that includes the willingness to use force if necessary in order to maintain stability and enforce international resolve, the world will continue to see the likes of Iran and Venezuela thumbing their noses at the efforts of the present US administration. KGS