The documents clearly show that Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., Venezuela’s government-owned petroleum company, sold at least 600,000 barrels of reformate in two shipments of 300,000 barrels each to the National Iranian Oil Company — Iran’s government-owned petroleum company — that were later shipped out of Venezuela in late December 2010.
These documents clearly debunk the lies the Venezuelan government has been telling the world about how Iran has become self-sufficient and is producing its own gasoline.
Venezuela’s top oil officials have been saying repeatedly after CISADA was passed that the country is not selling gasoline to Iran. As the ships were making their way to Iran, the country’s oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, brazenly denied that its government is involved in helping Iran overcome its gasoline deficiency. In a press conference in January, Mr. Ramirez said that the cuts in gasoline subsidies in Iran had brought down Iranian internal consumption of the product and that Iran had apparently “solved its problem.”
What he failed to mention was the role Hugo Chavez’s government was playing in solving that problem. And it hardly comes as a surprise.
Venezuela’s Chavez and Iran’s Khamenei are kindred spirits. Both have severely restricted freedom of speech and curbed political opposition in their countries. What’s surprising is the extent to which the American government has ignored the reports about Venezuela’s involvement in helping Iran break sanctions, which could result in endangering every country in the Middle East if Iran obtains nuclear weapons.
But now, in the face of this new evidence, is the U.S. government going to take tough measures against PDVSA, or is it going to simply skirt around the issue as it has for months when reports kept streaming in about Venezuela’s covert help to Iran?