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Iranian Food Is Set to Arrive in Struggling Venezuela

Jonathan Gilbert and Fabiola Zerpa

(Bloomberg) -- A ship from Iran was scheduled to deliver food to Venezuela on Sunday, according to Bloomberg’s vessel-tracking maps.

The tanker, called the Golsan, was just off the coast of Caracas on Sunday evening. It left Iran’s Bandar Abbas port a month ago and sailed through the Suez Canal.

Venezuela state television cited a tweet by the Iranian Embassy in Caracas that said the ship’s food cargo would supply the first Iranian supermarket in the South American nation.

Iran has recently been shipping fuel to Venezuela, whose socialist government has squandered some of the world’s biggest oil reserves and is now rationing gasoline.

Payments for the fuel shipments have been made to Iran’s Oil Ministry and are being held in the country’s treasury, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. The story, citing Ali Agha-Mohammadi, head of the economic affairs group at the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave no details about the value or unit of payment.

After years of a well-documented economic collapse, Venezuela is now on the verge of famine, the International Crisis Group has warned. The tightening vise of U.S. sanctions threatens to strangle what little foreign food and oil is managing to enter the country.

(Updates with Iran saying it has received payments for earlier fuel shipments in fifth paragraph)

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