Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolas Maduro and Iran’s hardline theocratic president Ebrahim Raisi recently signed a 20-year cooperation agreement.
The Associated Press reported that this new agreement came just one day after Maduro praised the Iranian Islamic Republic for sending badly needed fuel to Venezuela despite American sanctions.
In an interview with Maduro after he arrived for a two-day visit in Tehran, Iranian state media reported that Maduro heaped praise upon Iran’s efforts to send fuel tankers in support of his country.
Maduro said, “Tehran’s delivery of oil to Caracas was a great help to the Venezuelan people.”
Maduro’s visit to Iran comes as tensions heighten across the Middle East as negotiations over Iran’s nuclear deal fell apart and as U.S. sanctions and rising global food prices choke Iran’s suffering economy. This was Maduro’s first visit to Iran.
A high-ranking delegation from Venezuela comprised of political and economic officials joined Maduro on his visit to Iran after receiving an invitation from Raisi. Venezuela, like Iran, is under heavy sanctions from the U.S., which hinder its economic growth.
In a joint press conference on Saturday, Raisi and Maduro signed the 20-year agreement that solidified the country’s commitment to economic, political, and militaristic cooperation.
The Iranian English-language network, PressTV, quoted statements made by Maduro before the press conference indicating that the Venezuelan president and Raisi would discuss “the need to well inform the Iranian and Venezuelan nations about the war of sanctions and find ways to counter them with steadfastness.”
Maduro reportedly said that Venezuela and Iran are united by “a common vision.” The two presidents are aligned on international issues, and both have suffered economic difficulties, which are said to be caused by sanctions from America and its allies.
Maduro said, “Caracas and Tehran have shaped the strategy of [a] resistance economy and are working to expand it.”
On his website, Ali Khamenei, the former supreme leader of Iran, said that the experiences of Venezuela and Iran showed that the only way to face pressures from the U.S. is “to resist.” Khamenei thanked Maduro and the people of Venezuela for resisting American pressure.
Khamenei said, “Today, the United States views Venezuela differently.”
Maduro’s visit to Iran comes as he embarks on an individual Eurasian tour after President Joe Biden decided not to invite him to the Summit of the Americas which began this past week. Maduro’s stops will also include Algeria and Turkey.