The first five tankers full of Iran’s fuel reached gasoline-starved Venezuela in exchange for gold. This trade between these two allies confirms the Iranian regime’s economic suffocation.
The regime’s oil-dependent economy has been crushed both because of the international sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic. Fuel prices across the world have considerably dropped.
Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro, desperate to restore one of his decaying oil refineries on Venezuela’s north-western coast, to prevent Venezuela from running out of gasoline altogether, sought help from the Iranian regime. In exchange for their help, the Iranian regime demanded gold.
Due to the comprehensive sanctions imposed by the United States on both regimes in Iran and Venezuela, and most importantly because of the regimes’ corrupted economic policies and institutionalized corruption, both countries’ economy has been badly damaged.
In the last week of April alone, six planes belonging to the Revolutionary Guards–affiliated “Mahan Air” carrier were seen flying in and out of Simón Bolívar International Airport near Caracas.
Particularly for the Iranian regime it is a tough period. Facing a restive society and engulfed with domestic and international crises, and having failed in blackmailing the international community by using the coronavirus pandemic, the mullahs’ regime is desperate to receive the Venezuelan gold, estimated around $500 million, to fund its proxy terrorist groups and oppressive forces.
On the other hand, the Iranian regime fears possible actions by the U.S. In a nutshell, this action is due to the regime’s economic suffocation and desperation.
Majidreza Hariri, head of Iran-China Chamber, had previously said: “One of the first consequences of the decreased economic activities [due to the COVID-19 pandemic], was the sudden decrease of oil demand which was followed by a sharp oil price reduction in the world market. Although we [the regime] were not able to sell considerable oil due to the sanctions, yet the oil price reduction will make estimated revenues of this field unachievable.”
“With putting these puzzle pieces, it seems Iran’s export in the current year will have a possible 30% decrease and the government should prepare itself for the consequences,” he added.
Hariri’s remarks confirm the regime’s economic suffocation and explain why the regime has turned to Venezuela, despite the possible consequences. So far, violating and circumventing sanctions in the oil deal with a country that is also under U.S. sanctions will open the way for more international pressure on the clerical regime.
On the eve of the extension of the arms embargo and the possibility of the activation of the trigger mechanism, the regime has no card to play with, and its economic, political and international situation is more fragile than being saved by sending five oil tankers carrying 1.5 million liters of gasoline to Venezuela.
The Iranian regime’s relationship with Venezuela is decades long.
The Iranian regime has been in a close connection with many dictatorships. Its relationship with the Venezuelan dictators goes back to 2000s.
Back in 2008, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed that “The Iranian regime’s Air and Space Organization, part of its Ministry of Defense, along with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unit responsible for the missiles program, are collaborating extensively and secretly in the field of missile technology transfer to Venezuela. The IRGC’s commanders even attended the June 2008 Venezuelan military exercise.”
“During the past 5 years, the Iranian regime has established extensive military and political relations with Venezuela, with its investments in that country totaling roughly 10 billion dollars. Mullahs’ former president, Mohammad Khatami, and their current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have each traveled to Venezuela twice, while the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, has also reciprocated with his own trips to Tehran on a number of occasions,” the report added.
In a report published on March 23, 2013, the Washington Free Beacon, quoting a former U.S. official wrote: “It’s easy to say billions have been laundered through various Iranian enterprises and institutions through the Venezuelan economy.”
In such situation, the international community should not close its eyes on the regime’s recent activity, which will only help the mullahs to fund terrorism and prolong their rule.