Under U.S. sanctions, Iran and Venezuela sign 20-year cooperation plan
Iran and Venezuela signed a 20-year cooperation plan in Tehran on Saturday as the two countries, among the world's top oil producers, grapple with U.S. sanctions that are crippling their exports.
The signing ceremony was overseen by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro and took place at the Saadabad Palace in north Tehran.
The plan includes cooperation in the fields of oil, petrochemicals, defence, agriculture, tourism, and culture and was signed by foreign ministers Hossein Amirabdollahian and Venezuela's Carlos Faria.
It also includes repair of Venezuelan refineries and the export of technical and engineering services.
"Venezuela has shown exemplary resistance against sanctions and threats from enemies and Imperialists," Iran's Raisi said. "The 20-year cooperation document is testimony to the will of the two countries to develop ties in specific fields."
“Sanctions and threats against the Iranian nation over the past 40 plus years have been numerous, but the Iranian nation has decided to turn these sanctions into an opportunity for the country's progress," he said.
Maduro, who arrived in Tehran on Friday (June 10), is on a two-day visit and heads a high-ranking political and economic delegation. Earlier, he visited Turkey and Algeria.
Maduro said through an interpreter that a weekly flight from Caracas to Tehran would begin on July 18.
Iran and Venezuela have expanded cooperation since 2020, particularly in energy projects and oil swaps.
Defying U.S. pressures, Iran has sent several cargos of fuel to Venezuela and helped in refinery repairs. Last month, Venezuela began importing Iranian heavy crude, widening a swap agreement signed last year to exchange Iranian condensate for Venezuelan heavy crude.
In May, Iran's state-owned National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Co signed a contract worth about 110 million euros to repair Venezuela's smaller 146,000 barrel-per-day refinery.
That agreement was sealed after recent negotiations attended by Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji, who was in Venezuela early last month.