Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi affirmed the friendship between his country and Venezuela, which he is visiting at the start of a mini-tour to Latin America, during which the two countries signed 25 cooperation agreements.
Raisi said – during a joint press conference with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the presidential palace in Caracas – that the two countries have “common interests, views and enemies,” adding that “the Iranian people have proven their friendship with the Venezuelan people over the past years and have always shown that they are a friend of their difficult days.”
Raisi – who received the “Liberator Medal” (the highest award awarded by Venezuela) – made clear his intention to increase the volume of exchanges between the two countries from 3 billion dollars a year now to 10 billion in the first stage and then later to 20 billion dollars a year.
For his part, Maduro declared that “Iran plays a first-class role as one of the largest emerging powers in the new world,” criticizing former US President Donald Trump, and said, “We are on the right side of history … together we will not be invincible.”
Maduro added that he “is always asking the Iranian president for more support in order to develop strong scientific and technical cooperation.”
Iran is one of Maduro’s main international allies, and both members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are subject to US sanctions aimed at undermining their economies.
And in the year 2020, Iran sent 1.5 million barrels of fuel and food supplies to restart the suspended Venezuelan refineries in light of a serious economic crisis, and since then Washington has accused Tehran of circumventing the sanctions.
Raisi is then expected to travel to Cuba and Nicaragua, the two other allies in the confrontation with the United States.
Raisi said, in a statement to IRNA before leaving Tehran, that “this visit may be a turning point in improving the level of relations between us and Latin American countries,” adding, “During the past two years, our cooperation with these countries has developed in the fields of industry, agriculture, science, technology, and medicine.”
The last visit of an Iranian president to Cuba and Venezuela dates back to 2016, when former President Hassan Rouhani visited them before his participation in the United Nations General Assembly in New York.