Iran and Venezuela on Saturday signed a 20-year cooperation agreement during President Nicholas Maduro's visit to Tehran.
The comprehensive pact envisages cooperation between the two sanctions-battered countries in the areas of oil, petrochemicals, science and technology, agriculture, tourism, and culture.
At the signing ceremony following extensive talks, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi termed relations between Tehran and Caracas "strategic", saying the long-term agreement is a manifestation of the will of the two countries to expand cooperation.
Pointing to potential in their bilateral ties, Raisi said the two sides have expanded cooperation in the areas of energy, thermal power, fuel supply to refineries in Venezuela, and export of technical services.
He also announced the start of direct flights between Tehran and Caracas, which he asserted provides a basis for cooperation between the two countries and can strengthen trade ties between them.
He lauded the South American country for what he called "exemplary resistance" to US sanctions, saying Iran seeks to enhance ties with "independent countries."
The two countries, reeling under crippling US sanctions, have in recent years bolstered bilateral cooperation, with Tehran sending multiple shipments of crude to Caracas.
In a dig at Washington, Raisi said the White House spokesman recently admitted that their pressure policy against Iran had "failed miserably,” adding that Venezuela has also gone through "difficult years" due to US sanctions.
Maduro, who arrived in Tehran on Friday during his Eurasian visit, said the two sides enjoy good relations and that Iran should count on the Latin American country's cooperation in areas such as energy, oil and gas, petrochemicals, and refineries.
He said the world of the future will be that of "equality and justice and resistance to imperialism,” in a veiled attack on the West.
In an interview with state TV on Friday, Maduro commended Iran's move to send fuel tankers to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions, saying both countries "share common goals of fighting colonialism, imperialism, and racism.”
Maduro embarked on the regional tour, which also took him to Türkiye and Algeria, after being rebuffed by the Biden administration, which did not extend an invitation to him for the Summit of the Americas./aa