Iran's Foreign Ministry declared Monday that fuel shipments to Venezuela would continue if Caracas requests more supplies.
The remarks came over one week after Iran sent five fuel tankers to Venezuela to help with the acute gasoline shortages the country faces in its refineries.
“Iran practices its free trade rights with Venezuela and we are ready to send more ships if Caracas demands more supplies from Iran,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told a weekly news conference broadcast live on state TV.
On May 20, five Iranian super-tankers set sail for Venezuela carrying gasoline and other similar products, estimated to be worth $45.5 million.
The fuel shipments were dispatched on the request of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in defiance of US sanctions on both countries.
-Oil in exchange for gold
According to media reports, Tehran will receive at least nine tons of gold in exchange for the last gasoline shipments to Venezuela.
The Latin American country is said to hold some 70 tons of gold, which has become a valuable asset for the country battling its economic woes.
The networking between Tehran and Caracas, however, did not go down well with Washington, which reportedly deployed a fleet of warships in the Caribbean waters.
A senior official in Washington said in statements that the US was considering measures in response to Iran’s fuel shipment to Venezuela.
Iran, for its part, warned that any "pirate-like" action by the US Navy against the Iranian fuel shipments to Venezuela would trigger a “harsh response”, Iran’s Nour News Agency reported.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also warned the US against what Tehran termed "foolish action" against Iranian oil tankers and stressed there are no legal restrictions to any trade between Iran and Venezuela.
In response to the US' cautioning, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General, describing the US’ warnings as "illegal, dangerous and provocative threats" and said any action taken would be deemed "piracy" and a "great threat" to international peace and security.
By Sibel Morrow