June 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm #2229
6/2/2011 – Source: The Washington Post – World
Hugo Chavez condemns US sanctions over Iran, jokes about missile being pointed at US
CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez mocked U.S. concerns about Venezuela’s ties with Iran on Tuesday, joking that while his adversaries worry about Iranian-made missiles lining his country’s coast his government is actually erecting windmills there.
The socialist leader at first said missiles could be launched at Washington and other U.S. cities, then held up a photograph of windmills along the South American country’s coast, saying “here they are.”
“They are pointing directly at Washington,” Chavez joked during a meeting with top government officials that was broadcast on state television.
Chavez – an outspoken critic of Washington’s foreign policy – has previously poked fun at fears over Venezuela’s increasingly close relationship with Iran, saying that in a joint bicycle factory the two countries are building the “atomic bicycle.”
[color=#0000ff size=2]Chavez also condemned U.S. sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company for doing business with Iran.
President Barack Obama’s administration slapped sanctions on PDVSA and six other companies from other countries for doing business with Iran that helps fund its nuclear program. The State Department said PDVSA delivered at least two cargoes of refined petroleum products worth about $50 million to Iran between December and March.
Venezuela’s close ties with Iran have raised concerns among officials in Washington, who believe Iran is working on a nuclear weapons program.
[color=#0000ff size=2]Chavez has staunchly defended Iran’s nuclear energy program, saying it is for peaceful uses only.
Under the sanctions announced last week, Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, will be barred from any U.S. government contracts, U.S. import-export financing, and export licenses for sensitive technology. But PDVSA will not be banned from selling oil to the United States or dealing with its U.S. subsidiaries.
Chavez said his government is preparing contingency plans to confront the possibility of more severe sanctions.
He did not provide any details of the contingency plans, but Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez has hinted that PDVSA could seek to accelerate initiatives aimed at diversifying PDVSA’s clientele, exporting more crude to China and other countries to reduce Venezuela’s dependence on the United States. Venezuela is one of the United States’ main suppliers of petroleum.
June 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm #5039
Venezuela threatens to interrupt US oil supply
The threat came in response to new US sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company, which currently provides about 10 percent of American oil imports.
By Ariel Zirulnick, Correspondent / May 25, 2011
Venezuela’s foreign minister warned late Tuesday that it could no longer guarantee regular oil shipments to the United States after Washington placed sanctions on the Venezuelan state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), this week. The spat underscores long-running tensions over what Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez sees as America’s disproportionate, unjust exercise of power on the world stage.
“There are several proposals that are being evaluated by President [Hugo] Chvez to respond to the United States’ imperialist pretensions,” said Foreign Minister Nicols Maduro, according to the Miami Herald. A close associate of Chvez accused the US of trying to be “the world’s policeman as it steps on the sovereignty of the people.”
But for now, the almost 1 million barrels of oil a day that Venezuela sells to the US – 10 percent of US oil imports, more than 40 percent of Venezuela’s oil exports – remain on track. Reuters reports that past threats to interrupt the US oil supply never materialized.
The sanctions, a response to Venezuela’s continued assistance to Iran’s energy industry, do not ban oil exports to the US and shouldn’t affect the operations of the US branch of PDVSA. A decrease in supply to the US would be intentional, not a result of the sanctions.
The US is targeting PDVSA because it believes that Venezuela delivered $50 million worth of reformate, a “gasoline blending component,” to Iran in the past year. The US hopes that the sanctions, which also target six oil and shipping in other countries, will cramp Iran’s fuel supply. The Christian Science Monitor reports that although Iran has ample oil, its refinery capacity is inadequate and it imports 40 percent of its gasoline.
The newest round of sanctions mark the first attempt by the US to go beyond Iran in its attempts to halt its nuclear program, which it suspects of being geared toward nuclear weapon production. Past sanctions have targeted Iranian companies and banks.
The sanctions came a day after President Obama signed an executive order giving the State and Treasury Departments more leeway to target companies involved with Iran’s energy industry, The Wall Street Journal reported. The new sanctions prevent PDVSA from competing for US government contracts, getting licenses for US exports, and receiving financing from the US Export-Import Bank.
The ramped-up sanctions were announced the same day that the International Atomic Energy Association said in a report that it believes that Iran continues to make progress with its nuclear program. While Iran claims its program is only for energy purposes, much of the world believes that Iran aims to produce nuclear weapons.
Iran was supposed to halt any weapon-oriented work in 2004, but the IAEA found evidence of such work as recently as 2010. On Wednesday, an Iranian official scoffed at the IAEA claims, calling them “repetitive and boring” and dismissing the allegations, Agence France-Presse reports.
The IAEA report also cited evidence that in 2003 that Iran was working on a nuclear trigger device, which would likely only be utilized in a nuclear weapon, The New York Times reported. The US estimates that Iran is at least a year, but more likely several years, away from being able to produce a nuclear bomb.
June 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm #5038
Here are two articles by Washington Post & series from Christian Science Monitor on Venezuela spat with US over sanctions about PDVSA sales $50MM Reformate to Iran.
See two news article attached & these links to previous articles on this topic :
– New US sanctions target Iran’s refined petroleum imports first time ( http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2011/0524/New-US-sanctions-target-Iran-s-refined-petroleum-imports-for-first-time )
– Venezuelan state oil company hit with sanctions over Iran trade ( http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2011/0524/Venezuelan-state-oil-company-hit-with-sanctions-over-Iran-trade )
– Iran-Venezuela ties under US scrutiny ( http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2011/0318/Iran-Venezuela-ties-under-US-scrutiny )
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