Mexican president says he would sell gasoline to Venezuela if askedMexican president says he would sell gasoline to Venezuela if asked
FILE PHOTO: Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday his country would sell gasoline to Venezuela, if asked to do so, for “humanitarian” reasons, despite a raft of U.S. sanctions imposed on the South American country.

Lopez Obrador added he has not received such a request from the Venezuelan government.

The U.S. government is seeking to choke Venezuelan oil exports to starve the government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro of its main source of revenue. Existing sanctions have cut Venezuelan exports sharply, but Maduro has held on.

As Venezuela suffers a severe gasoline shortage, Iran sent a flotilla of five tankers of fuel to the country in May, despite Washington’s criticism of the trade between the two nations.

Nevertheless, Lopez Obrador said he would be willing to send gasoline to Venezuela under the right circumstances.

“Mexico is an independent, sovereign country,” he said during his regular morning news conference. “We make our own decisions and do not mess with the policies of other countries.”

The United States, which did not hinder Iran’s tanker cargoes, is considering imposing sanctions on dozens of additional foreign oil tankers for trading with Venezuela, a U.S. official told Reuters earlier this month.

(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez in Mexico City; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis)