According to an Iranian news agency, the reason being was in case US forces interfered with Venezuela-bound Iranian oil tankers. Iran sent a flotilla of five tankers of fuel to gasoline-starved ally Venezuela in May, and Tehran has said it will continue the shipments if Caracas requests more. This could be a risky move as Washington has criticised trade between the two countries, both of whom, are under US sanctions.
Noor News, an Iranian news outlet said: “According to reports received by Noor News, after increasing military threats against Iranian vessels headed for Venezuela, an order was issued to Iran’s armed forces to identify and track several US merchant vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.”
“Options for reciprocal action were immediately identified and monitored for possible operations,” the agency added.
Iran has already filed a complaint to the United Nations last month and has even led to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran being summoned.
The ambassador is in charge of representing US interests in the Islamic Republic and is now being dragged into a debacle over possible measures Washington could take against the Iranian tankers.
The US has been considering imposing sanctions on dozens of additional foreign oil tankers for trading with Venezuela.
Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf last year after British forces detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar.
Both vessels were released after a months-long standoff.
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Former President, Barack Obama, was integral in forming the agreement, an arrangement that current President, Donald Trump, described as the “Worst deal in history.”
This is partly why Washington is now seeking to extend a U.N. arms embargo that would eliminate any hope of revival.
The European Union’s foreign-policy chief, Josep Borrell, attacked U.S. insistence that, even though it left the 2015 pact, it was still somehow a participant with a voice in its future.
“They withdraw. It’s clear. They withdraw,” Borrell told reporters.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Russia and China, both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, to take steps to block any US efforts to blow up a pact it hasn’t been party to for more than two years.