Reuters: Venezuela has agreed to sell gasoline to Iran, which last week launched a delayed fuel rationing scheme, Venezuela’s energy minister said in remarks published on Tuesday. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Venezuela has agreed to sell gasoline to Iran, which last week launched a delayed fuel rationing scheme, Venezuela’s energy minister said in remarks published on Tuesday.
“Yes, the Iranians have asked to buy gasoline (from us) and we have accepted this request,” Rafael Ramirez told the Sharq newspaper in an interview.
“I can not give you more information,” he said, when asked how much fuel Iran would purchase.
The minister accompanied Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on an official visit this week to the Islamic Republic, which despite its huge oil reserves imports 40 percent of its gasoline needs as it has a shortage of domestic refining capacity.
In a bid to rein in costly imports at a time of growing international pressure over its nuclear activities, Iran on June 27 introduced gasoline rationing in OPEC’s number two producer, which consumes 75 million liters or more a day of fuel.
International traders ship about 210,000 barrels per day or 25 cargoes of fuel a month to Iran. Imports mainly come from India, the Netherlands, France and the United Arab Emirates.
The United Nations has imposed two rounds of sanctions so far for Tehran’s failure to halt work the West says is aimed at building atomic bombs, a charge Iran dismisses saying it only wants to develop a home-grown nuclear power industry.
The United States, leading efforts to isolate Iran, has described Tehran’s gasoline imports as leverage in the row.
On Monday, Chavez and his Iranian counterpart launched construction of a joint petrochemical plant, strengthening an “axis of unity” between two oil-rich nations staunchly opposed to the United States.
Chavez and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who both often rail against Washington, signed a series of other deals to expand economic cooperation, ranging from setting up a dairy factory in Venezuela to forming an oil company.