Asia Times, July 4
In June, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Iran for a two-day visit, marking the first time in five years the leader alighted in the equally isolated Islamic Republic. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who has crafted his foreign policy around anti-US motifs, is investing in elevating relations with Venezuela as Iran misses out on boosting relations with traditional Asian allies and lacks a roadmap for renewing ties with the West. During the visit, Iran and Venezuela signed a 20-year cooperation agreement, the details of which have not been made public.
But for the two countries whose economies have been crushed under years of biting US sanctions, there is potent symbolism in giving new impetus to ties that were mostly stagnant under Raisi’s predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, whose primary policy priority was to normalize ties with the West.