The governments of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a 20-year strategic cooperation agreement on June 11 during President Maduro’s two-day visit to Iran. The agreement focuses on increasing cooperation in the fields of agriculture, energy, defense, science, technology, communications, transport, tourism, health and education.
The deal prioritizes energy and food security in both the countries. According to the deal, Iran will help Venezuela in the recovery of its oil industry which is severely impacted by the unilateral sanctions by the US. The recovery efforts include repairing of Venezuelan refineries and the export of technical and engineering services, among other measures.
Meanwhile, Venezuela will increase its food production capacity and export its produce to Iran. As 70% of Iran’s territory is desert, food production occurs only on 30% of its land. On the other hand, Venezuela has over 30 million hectares of cultivable land. The Venezuelan President stressed that “Iran has created a technology to produce food in desert areas,” adding that “cooperation in technology will allow Venezuela to not only increase its internal food production, but also to produce food for export to Iran and other Asian countries.”
During the visit, Iran also successfully delivered Venezuela another Iranian-made Aframax-type oil tanker ship, capable of transporting 800,000 barrels of oil. This was the second of four oil tankers agreed upon between Iranian shipbuilding company Sadra and Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. Last year, Venezuela received the first giant Aframax-type oil tanker. According to a previously signed agreement, Venezuela will receive the third ship next year and the fourth in 2024.
Maduro stressed that the delivery of the second ship was the materialization of a plan launched by Commander Hugo Chávez to strengthen the nation’s oil industry and make it independent of any imperialistic attack.
President Maduro also announced that a direct flight would be launched between Caracas and Tehran on July 18 this year, with the purpose of strengthening tourism and union between the two countries.
The Venezuelan head of state thanked his Iranian counterpart for the help and support provided by sending much-needed fuel to his nation in 2022 despite US’ coercive measures. Meanwhile, President Raisi praised Maduro as a leader “who has shown a policy of fighting against imperialism and has managed to overcome sanctions and threats.”
President Raisi recalled that despite the numerous sanctions and threats against Iran over the last 42 years, the nation has turned the embargoes imposed on it into opportunities for progress. He assured that “the signing of the cooperation agreement between Iran and Venezuela is an example of the determination of the authorities of both republics to expand bilateral ties in all directions.”
President Maduro also met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and thanked him for all the assistance provided to Venezuela in facing the US sanctions. “You came to our aid when the situation in Venezuela was very difficult and no country was helping us,” said Maduro.
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.
Source » peoplesdispatch