Iran, Venezuela to sign energy deal: Bloomberg
Venezuela and Iran have taken another step to circumvent the US sanctions imposed on the two countries following attempts by Washington to mend relations with the countries as it grapples with an energy crisis.
Iranian oil minister Javad Owji is making a rare visit to Venezuela that will see him signing into force energy deals between Tehran and Caracas in light of the US sanctions imposed on the two countries, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing people knowledgeable on the matter.
Owji arrived in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, on Saturday, according to the US media outlet, which also said the minister was accompanied by more than a dozen delegates in a visit that will mark another turning point in overcoming the US-imposed blockade on the two countries.
The Iranian delegation has already visited the Paraguana refinery complex in western Venezuela, meeting with Petroleos de Venezuela SA head Asdrubal Chavez, with whom Owji is set to sign energy cooperation deals on Monday.
The two nations have been subjected to harsh, unilateral US sanctions that have taken a toll on their economies. Washington did not even lift its sanctions during the pandemic, terribly affecting Tehran and Caracas' ability to combat COVID-19.
The United States does not currently import oil from either nation, though Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with senior US officials in Caracas in March, which meant for many that there was hope that Washington would pivot away from its unilateral policy when it comes to the Latin American nation amid the global energy crisis sparked by the West's sanctions on Russia in light of the Ukraine war.
Iran and Venezuela have been upping their cooperation in light of the unjust US sanctions on the two countries, with Venezuela importing condensate from Iran, which is highly important in the oil refining process, as it is used to dilute heavy crude oil into an exportable blend.
An Iranian supertanker carrying more than 2 million barrels of condensate landed at a Venezuelan port a few months back, with reports saying boats had transported the material from Iran to Venezuela four times since 2020, which amounted to some 8.3 million barrels.
Cooperation has gone beyond supplies, for despite Iran helping its Latin ally by providing refined products and spare parts to boost its oil industry, it has also sent engineers to Venezuela, marking another point in cooperation between Tehran and Caracas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in March Washington was making attempts to sign contracts on energy resources with Iran and Venezuela as the US grappled with a harsh energy crisis, saying they were already "trying at all costs" to reach an agreement with the two.
Putin stressed that Washington was ready to make peace with Caracas and Tehran, sign all agreements, and hold negotiations with the parties they had penalized for no reason in the past. "It was not necessary to introduce these illegitimate sanctions," he told a government meeting.