Venezuela and Iran signed a 20-year cooperation agreement Saturday, pledging to bolster ties between the two countries.
The agreement in Tehran between Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi covers Iran-Venezuela cooperation in the oil and petrochemical industries, economic relations, and military cooperation, according to The Associated Press.
The agreement also covers areas such as science and technology, agriculture, and tourism, according to Reuters.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy has always been to have relations with independent countries, and Venezuela showed that it has had incredible resistance against threats and sanctions by enemies and imperialism,” Raisi said as he stood next to Maduro during a Saturday news conference, Al Jazeera reported.
“Sanctions and threats against the Iranian nation over the past 40 plus years have been numerous, but the Iranian nation has turned these sanctions into an opportunity for the country’s progress,” Raisi said, according to Al Jazeera.
Maduro also announced direct flights between Tehran and Caracas, saying he hoped the flights would help boost tourism in Venezuela as Iranians consider the South American nation in their travels.
“I believe that our future will be one of the pleasing and solid friendships,” Maduro said, according to Al Jazeera.
“The future of the world is one of equality and justice and standing up against imperialism. We must build this future together.”
In addition to signing the cooperation plan on Saturday, Iran handed over the second of four massive oil tankers — capable of carrying 800,000 barrels of oil — that Venezuela had ordered, Al Jazeera reported.
The Aframax tankers are manufactured by the Iranian company SADRA, which is under U.S. sanctions for its relationship with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Iran and Venezuela have built a relationship over the years as the two countries both face heavy sanctions imposed by the U.S.
During his two-day visit, Maduro thanked Iran for sending Venezuela oil shipments, in violation of U.S. sanctions, whenever the country required fuel.
“Tehran’s delivery of oil to Caracas was a great help to the Venezuelan people,” Maduro said in an interview with Iranian state media after arriving in Tehran on Friday.
Maduro also paid a visit to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini.
“The successful experience of the two countries showed that resistance is the only way to deal with these pressures,” Khamenei said during a meeting with Maduro, according to Reuters.
“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,” Khameini said.
“You came to our aid when the situation in Venezuela was very difficult and no country was helping us,” Maduro said, according to Reuters.
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