As part of Iran and Venezuela’s recently signed 20-year cooperation road map, Iran’s car manufacturer Saipa will launch new models in Venezuela under a deal the company signed with the Venezuelan regime, Iranian broadcaster PressTV reported in early October.
The deal, according to a Saipa statement, will focus on joint manufacturing of four car models with Venezuelan automobile company Venirauto. The cars, Florida-based daily Diarios Las Américas reported, will sell for $12,000 to $16,000, in a country where the minimum salary is $17.
During a June visit to Tehran, Nicolás Maduro and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a 20-year cooperation plan and hailed raising bilateral relations to the strategic level, agreeing to boost ties in trade, as well as the energy, science and technology, agriculture, and tourism sectors, Al Jazeera reported.
According to Jorge Serrano, security expert and advisor to the Peruvian Congress’ Intelligence Commission, Venezuela, which is in a more vulnerable situation than in previous years, “is receiving the support of another ally of the axis of evil [China-Russia-Iran],” and expanding cooperation in various fronts.
The Industrial Scientific and Technological Expofair, carried out in Caracas in mid-September, in which some 80 Iranian companies participated (from drones to dialysis machines, cars, and anti-viral vaccines), marked a new era in the Venezuela-Iran relationship. The fair, AP reported, will serve as a first step in the creation in Venezuela of an industrial park with the help and advice of Iran.
Maduro and Raisi, who took office in August 2021, have met five times. Maduro has been seeking to increase relations with Iran, China, and Turkey to circumvent U.S. sanctions, AP reported.
“we know how to bypass them [sanctions],” SM Moosavi, business manager of Barsi, an Iranian drone manufacturer, told AFP during the fair. “I can buy anything, anywhere and sell it where I want. There are limitations, but also back doors that I know about.”
“In addition to the isolation in which they find themselves, [Iran and Venezuela] are two pariah countries that leverage each other, support each other,” Serrano said. “But more than anything else, what it [Iran] seeks is to sustain Venezuela so that it continues to be a kind of aircraft carrier like Cuba was in past decades, but to [use it in] the South American region.”
Further contact between both countries took place on September 15 when the Maduro regime received a new Iranian-made vessel to transport crude oil, which will be incorporated to the fleet of state-owned PDVSA, Reuters reported.
The Islamic republic will also repair Venezuela’s smallest refinery of 146,000 barrels per day. Iran, AP reported, has for years solved part of the fuel shortages in Venezuela, which was once one of the world’s largest producers of oil and its derivatives.
In addition, Venezuelan teens between 14 and 16 years old will be eligible to receive scientific and technological training in Iran, reported Spain’s EFE news agency. The first group of 16 boys traveled to Iran on October 1.
Militarily, Tehran will likely continue to help Caracas produce and operate drones, especially considering Iran’s ambitions to expand its exports of the technology to several countries worldwide, the U.S.-based think tank Middle East Institute indicated in an August report.
In view of this alliance, “what must be done immediately is to promote the ties between democratic governments […] in the region and democratic organizations, with allies abroad, to form a sort of international coalition to rescue democracies and strengthen security in our countries in the face of these threats,” Serrano concluded.