Amid US efforts to cut off Iran’s fuel supplies, the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his country is to provide Tehran with 20,000 barrels of gasoline per day.
Chavez made the announcement at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.
The visiting president said that an agreement has been signed between the two countries, according to which Venezuela will start exporting 20,000 barrels of gasoline to Iran per day starting from October.
The US and Israel, along with some other Western countries, accuse Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program under the guise of uranium enrichment.
Tehran defends its nuclear program as being totally peaceful and within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is a signatory.
To force Tehran to halt its nuclear activities, the US Senate has approved a bill to put pressure on companies selling gasoline to Iran.
According to the bill, companies that continue to sell gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran will be banned from receiving US Energy Department contracts to deliver crude to the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Despite lying on large oil reserves, Iran only produces 60 percent of its domestic gasoline demand and imports the remaining 40 percent.
By cutting off Iran’s import of gasoline and other oil products, the US seeks to pile up pressure on Iran over its nuclear work.
The Europe-based trading firms Vitol, Trafigura, Russia’s LUKOIL and Malaysian state oil company Petronas are among the companies that currently export fuel to Iran.