Venezuela 'swaps' jet fuel for Iran's gasoline
Iran's state-run oil company has increased its exports of gasoline to Venezuela after both countries suffered a tightening of US sanctions and a global drop in oil prices after the outbreak of Covid-19.
Now three sources cited by Reuters claim that hard-hit Iran is seeing economic returns from Venezuela for its assistance to the Latin American state, which has also suffered acute financial hardships.
One source said that the oil firms from both countries last year "agreed to a full swap of Venezuela jet fuel to pay for the Iranian gasoline", according to a report by the news agency.
According to the report, the fuel is exported onboard the same Iranian vessels that deliver gasoline to Venezuela to create an "uninterrupted flow of refined products" to both countries.
"Each cargo is priced and compensated later. If there are differences in value (between swap shipments), they are paid through future cargoes," the source was quoted saying.
The Iranian embassy in Caracas had previously said that Iran receives "mangos and pineapples" in return for energy assistance.
Venezuela has also shipped Merey heavy crude to make-up shortfalls in jet fuel exports, citing "at least one 1.9 million barrels cargo delivered to NIOC since October", according to the same sources and documents seen by Reuters.
US officials have claimed that Venezuela is paying for the gasoline with gold as well.
During his term, ex-US president Donald Trump applied a "maximum pressure" policy on Iran with crippling sanctions after unilaterally withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018.
A week before losing the US elections, Trump slapped fresh sanctions on Iran's oil sector due to sales to Syria and Venezuela, among other issues.
The new "flood" of sanctions are aimed at increasing pressure on Tehran and make it harder for the Biden administration to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Israeli sources told Axios.
Current US president Joe Biden has indicated he wishes to return the US to the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.