Venezuela military to escort Iranian fuel tankers: defense minister

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez speaks during a broadcast at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela March 8, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s military will escort Iranian tankers delivering fuel to the gasoline-starved nation as soon as they enter the South American country’s exclusive economic zone, defense minister Vladimir Padrino said on Wednesday.

Padrino said in a state television interview that the escort would “welcome them in and thank the Iranian people for their solidarity and cooperation,” adding the Venezuelan government had been in contact with the Iranian defense minister.

Reporting by Vivian Sequera and Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Chris Reese