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Venezuela showcases military might ahead of Iranian tanker arrival

The Venezuelan military announced on Thursday that it will conduct a missile test pending the arrival of Iranian oil tankers, which are supposed to deliver fuel to Venezuela amid increased tensions with the United States.

“We have witnessed military exercises on the island of La Orchila with missile tests with utmost accuracy to defend our waters and our coasts,” Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro said in an interview with the Supreme Military Command.

The experiments were carried out in the framework of the “Bolivarian Shield”, the permanent deployment that was ordered last February.

The opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president, condemned the process, saying it was “propaganda training”.

Guaido said in a statement that Iranian ships “will only serve to enrich the dictatorship mafia,” referring to a black market that thrives with fuel shortages.

Maduro celebrated Wednesday the announcement of the arrival of oil tankers sent by Iran to his country in a shipment, Tehran warned Washington against obstructing the movements via the U.S. Navy in the Caribbean.

“We are ready for everything and at any time,” Maduro said in a speech broadcast on the state television network, expressing his thanks to his Iranian ally for his support in facing Washington’s hostility.

Maduro, or his defense minister, has not announced the expected date for the arrival of Iranian oil tankers in fuel-starved Venezuela, exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis.

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