Tuesday 02 March 2021
News ID: 87577
Publish Date: 13 February 2021 - 21:53
CARACAS (Dispatches) -- A plane carrying Iranian catalysts has landed in Venezuela to help jump-start the oil refineries in the South American country amid a fuel crisis, a report says.
Three people familiar with the matter and flight-tracking data confirmed the shipment of the catalysts to the 955,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Paraguana Refining Complex, a crude oil refinery center in western Venezuela, Reuters reported.
According to air traffic monitoring website flightradar24.com, an Airbus plane belonging to Venezuelan state-run airline Conviasa arrived at the Las Piedras airport on the Paraguana peninsula on February 11 after taking off from Tehran the previous day, with a stopover in Belgrade.
The plane was carrying catalysts intended for the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), said the three people, who were speaking on the condition of anonymity, adding that over a dozen further similar flights are expected.
Last year, Iran sent more than a dozen flights to help restart the 310,000 bpd Cardon refinery and alleviate acute gasoline shortages in Venezuela.
It also dispatched three flotillas of vessels carrying fuel to the Latin American state.
One of the informed people said Cardon is currently the only Venezuelan refineries producing gasoline and the nearby 645,000 bpd Amuay refinery is producing naphtha to serve as a feedstock.
The Iranian catalysts, he added, are expected to help restart gasoline production at Amuay, whose catalytic cracker has been offline since late 2019, in anticipation of planned maintenance at Cardon.
Iran and Venezuela, both OPEC members, have boosted their economic ties in recent years.
Close Tehran-Caracas relations have infuriated the U.S., which has imposed illegal sanctions on both countries with the aim of crippling their oil sectors.
In May 2020, a U.S. official said then president Donald Trump’s administration was considering responses to Iran’s fuel supply to Venezuela, prompting Tehran to warn of retaliatory measures if Washington causes any problem for the tankers.
Washington also threatened stiff sanctions against foreign governments, shipping firms, seaports, and insurers if they aid the Venezuela-bound Iranian tankers.
Leading American magazine Foreign Policy said last September that the U.S. "maximum pressure has not destroyed the Iranian economy, and Tehran is now sharing its lessons in resilience” with the beleaguered Venezuelan government.
"The simple fact that Iran, which has faced a broad campaign of sanctions for more than a decade, has recently come to the aid of Venezuela, which has been under concerted sanctions pressure for only a few years, suggests a remarkable degree of

 economic resilience. When comparing the two economies, the most salient question is not whether Iran will become like Venezuela, but rather whether Venezuela will become more like Iran,” the U.S. publication said.
From March 2019 to March 2020, China was the top destination for nonoil exports, with Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Afghanistan rounding out the top five destinations, it added.
On Friday, the UN special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights urged the U.S., the European Union and other states to remove their unilateral sanctions against Venezuela.
Alena Douhan made the request in a preliminary report published at the end of her two-week visit to Venezuela.
She warned that the restrictive measure have exacerbated the country’s "pre-existing calamities” and resulted in the economic, humanitarian and development crisis.
"The devastating effect of sanctions imposed is multiplied by extra-territoriality and over-compliance adversely affecting public and private sectors, Venezuela citizens, non-governmental organizations, third country national and companies,” Douhan said, noting that "humanitarian exemptions are lengthy, costly, ineffective and inefficient.”
"Lack of necessary machinery, spare parts, electricity, water, fuel, gas, food and medicine, growing insufficiency of qualified workers many of whom have left the country for better economic opportunities, in particular medical personnel, engineers, teachers, professors, judges and policemen, has enormous impact over all categories of human rights, including the rights to life, to food, to health and to development.” the UN official remarked.
Washington in January 2019 sanctioned state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela to try to depose President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro’s government blames the sanctions for Venezuela’s economic woes. Before blacklisting PDVSA in 2019, Washington in 2015 implemented its first sanctions on top Venezuelan government officials, and in 2017 issued some financial restrictions on PDVSA.

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