Venezuelan leader and Iranian president sign 20-year agreement


Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and Iran’s president signed a 20-year cooperation agreement on Saturday, a day after Maduro praised the Islamic Republic for sending much-needed fuel to his nation despite US sanctions.

In an interview with Maduro after arriving in Tehran for a two-day visit, Iranian state media late Friday reported that Maduro welcomed Iran’s move to send fuel tankers to its energy-hungry nation.

“Tehran’s oil supply to Caracas has been of great help to the Venezuelan people,” he said.

Maduro’s first visit to Iran comes amid tensions in the Middle East over the collapse of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. US sanctions and soaring food prices around the world are stifling Iran’s ailing economy and putting further pressure on its government and people.

A high-ranking political and business delegation from Venezuela, which like Iran is under severe US sanctions, is accompanying Maduro on his visit at the invitation of uncompromising President Ebrahim Raisi.

In a joint press conference on Saturday, Raisi and Maduro signed a 20-year agreement expanding ties in the oil and petrochemical industries, the military and business.

Iran’s English-language PressTV quoted Maduro ahead of the press conference as saying the two men would meet to “discuss the need to keep the Iranian and Venezuelan nations well-informed about the sanctions war and find ways to steadfastly counter them.”

Maduro said Venezuela and Iran are united by “a shared vision” on international issues and are both victims of coercive measures by the United States and its allies.

“Caracas and Tehran have shaped and are working to expand the strategy of (a) resistance economy,” he said.

On his website, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the two countries’ successful experience has shown that the only way to confront the United States’ pressures and wars is to “resist.” He thanked Maduro and the Venezuelan people for their resistance, saying that “the United States sees Venezuela differently today.”

Maduro is on a Eurasia tour after President Joe Biden decided not to invite him to the Americas Summit, which ended on Friday. His stops earlier this week included Algeria and Turkey.

Turkey is one of a few places around the world – Russia and Iran are among them – where Maduro is welcome amid US sanctions against his country.

Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua were not invited to the summit by the Biden government because of their authoritarianism and human rights abuses. This decision led to Mexico’s President announcing that he would not be attending.

Maduro announced that a direct flight between Tehran and Caracas would begin next month.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency later reported that Iran had delivered the Aframax-2 oil tanker to Venezuelan officials, the second of four vessels Iran was set to build for the South American country.

Amid rising tensions with the West, Iran has begun removing 27 surveillance cameras from nuclear facilities across the country, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said Thursday. He warned that this could deal a “mortal blow” to the torn nuclear deal as Tehran enriches uranium closer to weapons-grade levels than ever before.

That development came a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors chided Tehran for failing to provide “credible information” about manufactured nuclear material found at three undeclared sites in the country.

The Iranian currency fell to an all-time low of 326,300 riyals per dollar after the censorship.


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