In an effort to counter crippling sanctions from the U.S., Iran and Venezuela pledged to increase ties between their oil-rich countries and inked a 20-year cooperation deal during Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s state visit to Tehran.
According to Al Jazeera, Maduro met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran after arriving in the Iranian capital Friday on a two-day trip.
The "cooperation roadmap" was signed by the foreign ministers of the two countries, with their respective heads of state present, the news outlet reports.
Raisi and Maduro celebrated raising bilateral relations to the "strategic" level in a joint conference after the meeting, and agreed both countries can strengthen trade, as well as the energy, science and technology, and agriculture and tourism areas.
While the leaders concentrated on areas of mutual cooperation, amid economic crisis due to American sanctions, delegations from both countries ironed out details of the impending mutual aid, Al Jazeera reports.
"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 reportedly said.
He added that Iran, similar to Venezuela, has also been sanctioned by the U.S. and others for many years, but has treated them as an opportunity to move forward.
After meeting Maduro and his delegation Saturday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, commended the closer working relationship between the two countries and efforts to counter the U.S., according to Al Jazeera.
"The successful experience of the two countries has shown that the only way to counter the heavy pressures and hybrid war of the U.S. is to stand up against it and resist," Khamenei reportedly said.
According to Maduro, beginning July 18, a direct flight between Tehran and Caracas will be established with the hope that more Iranians will consider visiting Venezuelan cities and natural landmarks.
"I believe that our future will be one of the pleasing and solid friendships," he said. "The future of the world is one of equality and justice and standing up against imperialism. We must build this future together."
Maduro also lauded Iran’s help with its rundown oil industry, in an interview with state-run HispanTV on Friday.
On Saturday, Raisi promised cooperation will continue.
Iran sent shipments of its heavy crude to help Venezuela increase production of oil and gas, following the signing of an oil swap agreement last year, according to Al Jazeera.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.