BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:40 P.M.) – On Saturday, a news agency close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said that Iran had prepared to target American merchant ships in the Gulf in the event that the U.S. Navy intercepted Iranian tankers that were en route to Venezuela.

On its website, the Noor News reported that Iran sent a fleet of five fuel tankers to its ally Venezuela, which desperately needed gasoline in May, and Tehran said it would continue these shipments if Caracas requested more, despite Washington’s criticism of trade between the two countries.

Both of these nations are currently under strict sanctions by the U.S. and its allies, which makes it difficult for them to trade with other nations internationally.

“After increasing military threats against Iranian ships heading to Venezuela, an order was issued to the Iranian armed forces to identify and track several American commercial ships in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman,” the agency said .

Iran complained to the United Nations, last month, and summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, about possible measures Washington might take against Iranian tankers.

A U.S. official had previously told Reuters last month that the United States, which had not blocked Iranian tanker shipments, was considering imposing sanctions on dozens of additional foreign oil tankers for its dealings with Venezuela.

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