Iran and Venezuela are two of the important Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the bilateral relations between the two countries have been established within the principles and ideologies upon which NAM is based. The cordial relations between Tehran and Caracas emanate from the independence-seeking policies and resistance of the two nations. Both sides agree that political relations can continue deeper, more strategic and more serious than before through the improvement of economic cooperation. As two of the major oil manufacturing nations , Venezuela and Iran continue to seek consensus on ways to stabilize oil markets and strengthen OPEC.
Following the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005, amity between Caracas and Tehran matured. At the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Cuba in 2006, Chavez claimed that he would defend Iran from any threat of invasion. Not long after, Ahmadinejad publicly stated that he would back Venezuela’s bid for a seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council. In 2007, the two leaders claimed that they were strengthening an “axis of unity”.
In August 2016, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the beginning of a new dynamic era in Caracas-Tehran bilateral relations. “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,” remarked the Venezuelan leader, who later announced the creation of a special commission to follow up on their bilateral deals. In a similar vein, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif remarked that Iran and Venezuela will resolutely proceed with the improvement of their strategic relations. “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 also discussed opportunities for bolstering economic cooperation between the two countries and mentioned that Iran was committed to vigorously continuing its good and strong relations with Venezuela which is a legacy of the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, and his revolutionary and independent policies.
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. Central bank authorities from the two countries also signed an agreement on financial matters and issued a joint declaration to strengthen links.
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. he countries agreed to jointly fund a research program in nanotechnology, and Maduro also stated that he secured goods “necessary for the Venezuelan people” such as drugs and surgical equipment. On September 6 2015, Head of the Presidential Office Mohammad Nahavandian in a meeting with Venezuelan Vice-President for Economy Rodolfo Marco Torres said that the good cooperation between the two countries should also expand in cultural and scientific fields in addition to the economic domains.
Trade between Venezuela and Iran has grown steadily and the two countries have launched joint ventures in a number of sectors, including energy, agriculture, housing, and infrastructure.
It may also be mentioned here that During the 2009 G-20 London summit, Venezuelan leader Chavez and Iran leader Ahmadinejad held their own meeting which they called the “G-2” summit, at which the formation of a joint Iranian-Venezuelan development bank was announced, initially with US$200 million capital. Iran supplies Venezuela with tractors and consumer goods, including bicycles and dairy products. In September 2009, Chavez agreed to supply Iran with 20,000 barrels of gasoline per day. In January 2010, following an agreement signed in March of the previous year; Venezuela announced that it has removed visa requirements for Iranian nationals wishing to visit, making it the third Latin American country to do so including Nicaragua and Ecuador.
The Iranian Venezuelan relationship is one of the prime examples of strengthening of bilateral relations between two developing nations and provides a major boost for South-South cooperation. It may also be mentioned that some analysts are skeptical about the growing ties between Tehran and Caracas, but there concerns are largely unfounded. Political relations between the two countries continue deeper, more strategic and more serious than before through the improvement of economic and other forms of cooperation within the framework of NAM.