Mexico City, Mexico, June 13, 2022 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela and Iran signed a 20-year cooperation agreement Saturday during President Nicolás Maduro’s visit to the Asian country with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi.
The two-day visit to Iran comes as part of a foreign tour by the South American president who had earlier stops in Turkey and Algeria.
“We have reached the year 2022 in better shape, more prepared and stronger to unite the forces of Iran and Venezuela in a truly impressive map of cooperation,” said Maduro, who was accompanied by a high-ranking political and economic delegation.
Saturday’s deal focuses on agriculture, energy, science, technology, communications, transport, tourism, health and education.
The deal also builds on long standing cooperation on energy matters, with Iran playing a key role in Venezuela’s effort to recover its oil industry amid punishing United States sanctions. Maduro went on to meet directly with Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji, who earlier visited Venezuela in May.
The new 20-year deal reportedly also includes repair of Venezuelan refineries and the export of technical and engineering services. Venezuela will additionally receive the second of four new oil tankers built between Iranian company Sadra and Venezuela’s PDVSA, with an 800,000 barrel capacity.
“The signing of the 20-year cooperation document between Caracas and Tehran is an example of the firm will of the authorities of both countries to extend cooperation in all directions” said Raisi.
The Irainian president also specifically praised Maduro, saying he was a leader “who has shown a policy of fighting against imperialism and has managed to overcome sanctions and threats.”
“Venezuela has shown exemplary resistance against sanctions and threats from enemies and Imperialists,” added the Iranian president.
The US has likewise maintained a strict sanctions regime on the Iranian government, which was intensified after the collapse of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concerning Iran’s nuclear program following former US President Donald Trump abandonment of the deal.
Venezuela has been under a similar maximum pressure campaign since 2017 when the US Treasury Department levied financial sanctions against PDVSA followed by an oil embargo in 2019 as well as secondary sanctions against shipping companies and other intermediaries.
While in Iran, Maduro also met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, heaping praise on the country’s maximum figure for assisting Venezuela as it faced down the US-led sanctions campaign.
“You came to our aid when the situation in Venezuela was very difficult and no country was helping us,” said Maduro.
For his part, Khamenei lauded the “resistance” of Iran and Venezuela.
“The two countries have such close ties with no other country, and Iran has shown that it takes risks in times of danger and holds its friends’ hands,” said Khamenei.
Maduro’s visit to Iran came on the heels of trips to Turkey and Algeria, where he met with Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, respectively.
While in Algeria, the two countries reaffirmed their solidarity and support for Palestine, the Sahrawi Republic and Libya in their historic struggle for self-determination.
“With our tour of Turkey, Algeria and Iran we have consolidated the deep friendships as brother peoples, setting up agreements and great achievements that translate into shared well-being,” wrote Maduro on Twitter.
The Venezuelan president embarked on his foreign tour as the IX Summit of the Americas was held in Los Angeles, California. The US opted not to invite Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua to the regional gathering but was met with boycotts and protests from regional leaders over its decision. The three countries’ exclusion ultimately overshadowed events at the summit.
Venezuela for its part instead focused on deepening “South-South” relations with allies across the globe, a long standing foreign policy priority for the country.
Edited by Ricardo Vaz in Caracas.