Venezuela Ships Minerals to Iran After Tehran Supplies Local Supermarket

In this May 25, 2020 file photo, the Iranian oil tanker Fortune is anchored at the dock of the El Palito refinery near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. U.S. officials said Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, that the Trump administration has seized the cargo of four tankers it was targeting for transporting Iranian …
AP Photo/Ernesto Vargas

The Maduro regime in Venezuela sent a cargo of minerals to Iran this month after Tehran provided supplies for a new Persian supermarket in the failed South American country, Iranian state media reported Thursday.

Iran’s Tasmin News Agency reports that the Golsan, a general cargo ship with a capacity of 22,882 tons, is currently making its way east across the Atlantic Ocean after loading up with alumina courtesy of Venezuela’s socialist regime. The vessel is owned and run by Tehran-based companies, Mosakhar Darya Shipping Co. and Rahbaran Omid Darya, both of which share an address.

According to Tasmin, the shipment of minerals was in return for the supplies provided to Venezuela’s first Iranian supermarket, opened by the regime in June as part of an effort to deepen economic and cultural ties between the two authoritarian states. The supermarket replaced a once-thriving local supermarket chain confiscated under socialism and run to the ground.

As well as the world’s largest oil reserves after the United States, Venezuelan land is known for its vast mineral wealth, although the collapse of the country’s mining industry has made it harder to exploit these resources. Iran is also said to have considerable natural resources, holding around seven percent of the world’s total mineral reserves.

Both countries are currently facing major economic crises, worsened by economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration aimed at removing their respective regimes from power. While technically an Islamic theocracy, the Iranian regime’s stranglehold on its economy means it is in practice similar to the Maduro regime’s socialist economy.

This month, the U.S. seized the cargo of four Iranian fuel tankers transporting around 1.1 million barrels to Venezuela, a resource that despite their oil reserves they are desperately short on.

According to the Justice Department, it was the largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran, although the announcement was dismissed by the Iranian ambassador to Venezuela, Hojat Soltani, as “yet another lie and psychological warfare.”

As well as closer trade links, the two countries last year signed various “scientific and technological” agreements encompassing cooperation in education, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and engineering. Meanwhile, Iran’s second-largest airline Mahan Air began offering direct flights to Venezuela to facilitate the travel of citizens and officials.

Warm relations between Venezuela and Iran were established at the beginning of the 21st century by late socialist dictator Hugo Chávez, who shared Tehran’s anti-American, “anti-imperialist” worldview. The relationship is increasingly considered as a threat to U.S. national security, as the Maduro regime is understood to have allowed Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah to use Venezuelan territory as a base to expand their Latin American operations.

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