June 28, 2022

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Iran, Venezuela sign 20-year cooperation plan during Maduro's visit |  Oil and gas news

Iran, Venezuela sign 20-year cooperation plan during Maduro’s visit | Oil and gas news

Tehran, Iran – Iran and Venezuela signed a 20-year “road map for cooperation” during President Nicolas Maduro’s state visit to Tehran as the two oil-rich nations reeling from US sanctions vowed to boost bilateral ties.

The Venezuelan President met his Iranian counterpart, Ibrahim Raisi, today, Saturday, at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, a day after he arrived in the Iranian capital with a high-level political and economic delegation on a two-day trip.

At a joint conference after their meeting, the two sides hailed the raising of bilateral relations to a “strategic” level and agreed that the two countries could boost trade ties as well as the energy, science and technology, agriculture and tourism sectors.

The foreign ministers of the two countries signed the cooperation roadmap, the exact details of which were kept confidential, in the presence of the two countries’ presidents.

The delegations of the two countries discussed the details of future cooperation, as the two leaders focused on issues of joint cooperation in economic issues amid stifling economic crises due to sanctions.

“The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has always been to establish relations with independent countries, and Venezuela has shown that it has faced incredible resistance against threats and sanctions from enemies and imperialism,” Raisi said, sitting next to Maduro.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrive for a meeting in Tehran [President Website/WANA via Reuters]

He added that like Venezuela, Iran has also faced sanctions from the United States and others for decades, but chose to view it as an opportunity to move the country forward.

Raisi said Iran has succeeded in breaking the “maximum pressure” policy that Washington has initiated since it unilaterally abandoned Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.

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Despite numerous rounds of talks, no breakthrough has been made to revive the landmark agreement that is likely to grant sanctions relief in exchange for restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Later on Saturday, Raisi accompanied Maduro and his delegation to a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei also praised the closer relations between the two countries and efforts to confront the United States, and supported Venezuela’s support for Palestine.

“The successful experience of the two countries has shown that the only way to confront the intense pressures and hybrid war of the United States is to stand up to it and resist,” his website quoted him as saying.

Direct flight between Tehran and Caracas

Maduro also praised Venezuela’s “resistance against sanctions and imperialism” since 2017, and said his country aims to use Iran’s experiences in this field and will focus future cooperation in science and technology.

The Venezuelan president praised Iran’s “miracles” in developing its agricultural sector amid historical droughts, and said that the two countries aim to develop relations in this sector.

Maduro announced that a direct flight between Tehran and Caracas will start from July 18, hoping that it will help more Iranians consider Venezuelan cities and natural attractions as tourist destinations.

“I think our future will be one of interesting and solid friendships,” he said. The future of the world is the future of equality, justice and standing against imperialism. We must build this future together.”

In an interview with Spain’s state-run Hispan TV on Friday, Maduro also praised Iran’s help in its ailing oil industry.

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Raisi, who sent Petroleum Minister Jawad Ogi to meet Maduro earlier this year, promised on Saturday that cooperation would continue.

After the meetings, Iranian state TV said Raisi and Maduro attended a ceremony via video link, during which Iran officially delivered the second out of four Aframax-class oil tankers ordered by Venezuela.

Built by a state company, the Aframax is said to be 250 meters long and can hold up to 800,000 barrels of oil.

Stand up to American hegemony

Since 2020, Iran has helped repair and overhaul a number of Venezuelan refineries that have suffered from decades of mismanagement, low investment, and sanctions.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Tehran.
Hamid Mousavi, a professor of political science at Tehran University, said both presidents tried to project an image of “standing up to American hegemony.” [Vahid Salemi/AP Photo]

The two countries also signed an oil exchange agreement last year, according to which Iran sent shipments of its heavy crude to help Venezuela increase oil and gas production to avoid the fuel crises it experienced in recent years.

Speaking from Tehran, Hamid Mousavi, a professor of political science at Tehran University, said both presidents tried to project an image of “standing up to American hegemony.”

He told Al Jazeera, “Such a strategy could be successful if other larger countries such as China and Russia joined in.”

Noting that the meeting of the joint delegation between Iran and Venezuela focused mostly on economic aspects, Mousavi said that the two countries will benefit from economic cooperation regardless of the continuation of strict US sanctions.

Iran signed a 25-year cooperation agreement with China last year, and said it had “entered the implementation phase” earlier this year.

It is also negotiating the renewal of a 20-year cooperation agreement with Russia, which was discussed during Raisi’s visit to Moscow in January.

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