Iran has claimed it is operating a direct shipping service to Venezuela to boost its exports and work around US sanctions on both nations.

The official Iranian news agency IRNA said the route was launched in February with two ships moving “Iranian products” to Venezuelan ports.

A third ship will join the service this month.

Shipments are to take place at least once every three months, but no details of the vessels were provided.

Cars from Iran’s two largest automakers, Iran Khodro and Saipa, have been among the cargoes, Venezuela-based news network TeleSur reported.

In June 2022, the countries signed a 20-year partnership agreement in areas such as mining, oil, gas, and energy.

In 2022, Iranian ambassador to Venezuela Hojatollah Soltani described the direct shipping route as a “missing link” between the two regimes, according to Safety4sea.

Iran is prepared to use “heavy ships” to expand shipments to the Venezuelan capital Caracas, IRNA reported.

“You never really know if these [Iranian] announcements have to do with very concrete things or simply have the sole objective of showing…on a global level and to its own population that it is a world actor,” Paulo Botta, a director for the contemporary Middle East at the Catholic University of Argentina, told Dialogo Americas.

“Neither Venezuela nor Iran are relevant economies in the world. In addition, they have a huge amount of problems, each due to mismanagement and very high levels of corruption,” he added. “Iran, when it sees countries like Venezuela, sees them in terms of funds or resources…to continue to survive.”
Expanding its sphere of influence

Iran has been looking to South America to expand its influence.

CNN reported that between 26 February and 3 March, two warships of the Iranian Navy, sanctioned by the US, docked in Rio de Janeiro to showcase its growing military and naval power.

In June 2022, Venezuela took delivery of the second Iranian-built tanker for state-owned oil company PDVSA.

The ship is part of an agreement between both regimes for four new vessels, Venezuela has said.

Source » tradewindsnews