MAJOR: Iran helps Caracas overcome US sanctions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) shakes hands with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after reviewing the honor guard at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran on January 10, 2015. Maduro arrived in the Iranian capital the previous day for a 24-hour visit during which he will meet officials from fellow OPEC member Iran to discuss plunging oil prices, state television said. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)
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CARACAS – Iran, which has been under heavy US sanctions for several decades, is advising Venezuela, hit by the crisis, on overcoming the economic blockade and boosting production, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said.

For several decades, Tehran “has been increasing its economy under the sanctions imposed by the United States in an attempt to seek independence in various sectors,” Arreaza told reporters during his visit to Moscow.

Explaining further, he said that Iran has an indispensable experience to challenge the continued pressure from the United States.

“We have a lot to learn from Iran. We have Iranian advisers in the Venezuelan government who help us survive the blockade and increase production,” he said.

Iran has faced sanctions imposed by the US since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the pro-Western leader Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The restrictions targeted Iranian finance, exports and imports, as well as energy and the Armed Forces.

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Most of the sanctions that paralyzed Iran’s economy were suspended after Iran and the five world powers, the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, and Germany signed the nuclear agreement in 2015. But US President Donald Trump, who labeled it “the worst deal of all time,” re-implemented sanctions last November.

Likewise, the US imposed on Venezuela restrictions on the segmentation of the oil industry of the Latin American country, including the main state-owned company, PDVSA. These sanctions were strongly condemned by Caracas, which rejected them as economic blackmail.

In addition to the Iranian consultancy, Venezuela is seeking alternative ways to deal with friendly countries around the world, including China and Russia. “These methods and routes are not built at night, we need a lot of time to create them,” the foreign minister admitted.

The situation in Venezuela has been worsening since January 23, when Guaidó illegally proclaimed himself acting president and was immediately supported by the US and its allies, while Maduro received support from several countries, including Russia and China, and was recognized as the the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

Although his attempted coup on April 30 failed, Guaidó said it was “clearly visible that the Armed Forces no longer support Maduro.” He later admitted that the opposition had mischaracterized his support within the Armed Forces during the attempted coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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