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Iran and Venezuela sign economic agreements, announce new era of bilateral relations


Report by Press TV; photos by Mehr News Agency

Venezuela and Iran agree to increase economic cooperation, signing agreements between the two countries' central banks and announcing a new dynamic era in bilateral relations. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who was in Caracas on the last leg of a Latin America tour also taking him to Cuba, Bolivia, Chile, Nicaragua and Ecuador.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) hugs Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Saturday August 27.

"We are advancing in our bilateral cooperation as well as in matters of mutual interest for economic development ... we are going to create a new dynamism in Venezuela-Iran relations," Maduro said in a ceremony broadcast on state television.

The Venezuelan leader named chief general Jesus Gonzalez as the country's new ambassador to Iran on Saturday.

Maduro later announced the creation of a special commission to follow up on their bilateral deals. In June 2015, the Venezuelan government and a high-level delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran inked six deals on scientific, technological, economic and health cooperation.

Iran and Venezuela have forged friendly relations based on their aversion to colonial US policies and determination to preserve their independence.

Zarif expressed Iran's interest in broadening cooperation with Venezuela and other Latin American countries, saying he was glad to consolidate economic ties between Caracas and Tehran.

Central bank authorities from the two countries signed an agreement on financial matters and Venezuelan foreign affairs chief Delcy Rodriguez said Caracas and Tehran were working to "continue strengthening" strategic alliances.

"The accord between the two central banks is the path to continue good relations. I am sure that with the accords signed tonight that we can increase and deepen our relations in a different field," Zarif said.

Maduro said Venezuela's oil minister and foreign minister would make announcements in the coming weeks about consensus with Iran on ways to stabilize oil market and strengthen OPEC.

"We continue to build common ground and a new consensus on stabilizing oil markets, strengthening industries, strengthening OPEC," he said.

In February, Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino traveled to Tehran along with his Qatari and Iraqi counterparts to persuade Iran into joining a Russian plan for oil production freeze on which they did not agree because of Saudi persistence that all OPEC members came on board.

The Islamic Republic has said it would stick to its policy of regaining its market share with ramped-up production before joining the freeze program. On Friday, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said Iran will help other oil producers stabilize the world market so long as fellow OPEC members recognize its right to regain lost market share.

Since the collapse of oil prices in 2014, Venezuela has sought to rally support among OPEC and non-OPEC nations to boost crude prices by limiting production. Key OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia have shown little interest in backing output cuts and remained focused on retaining market share.

The kingdom has ignored Iran's call on other producers to make room for Tehran's barrels at normal production levels after the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Among the Latin American countries, Iran has developed more advanced ties with Venezuela. The country is involved in a series of joint ventures worth several billion dollars in energy, agriculture, housing, and infrastructure sectors in Venezuela.

More than 100 representatives of state and private companies accompanied Zarif in his visit to Latin America where Iran has good relations with almost all the regional countries.

In Nicaragua, Zarif said Iran was interested in a massive project to build a canal which would link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Iran, Venezuela vow to boost strategic relations

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran and Venezuela will resolutely proceed with the improvement of their strategic relations.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (center left) and his Venezuelan counterpart Delcy Rodriguez (center right) meet in Caracas on August 28, 2016.

“The people of Iran and Venezuela have resisted against foreign pressure and arrogant powers for many years and left good memories of solidarity with each other,” Zarif said at a conference in Caracas on Sunday to discuss opportunities for bolstering economic cooperation between the two countries.

He added that Iran would vigorously continue with its good and strong relations with Venezuela which is a legacy of the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, and his revolutionary and independent policies.

The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that cordial relations between Tehran and Caracas emanate from the independence-seeking policies and resistance of the two nations.

He said such political relations can continue deeper, more strategic and more serious than before through the improvement of economic cooperation.

Necessity of bolstering Tehran-Caracas ties

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, who was also present in the conference, said the current visit by his Iranian counterpart and his entourage to Caracas highlights the strategic relations between the two sides.

She added that Iran and Venezuela are two active countries in some international bodies such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and urged the two countries to further boost their close relations.

Among the Latin American countries, Iran has developed more advanced ties with Venezuela. The country is involved in a series of joint ventures worth several billion dollars in energy, agriculture, housing, and infrastructure sectors in Venezuela.


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