Iran and Venezuela open direct shipping line

Iran and Venezuela have established a direct shipping route to improve trade ties amid US sanctions, the Iranian embassy in Caracas said in a statement released on Friday.

According to the statement, the route is designed to facilitate interaction between traders in both countries, the Mehr news agency reported.

The embassy recognized the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and said a cargo ship will leave Iran bound for Venezuela every three months.

IRISL said last week that a ship carrying Iranian goods would be heading to Venezuela in May.

In late December 2022, the state-owned shipping company had notified the Iranian authorities and the country’s chambers of commerce, expressing its willingness to set up a regular shipping line to export Iranian goods to Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro paid an official visit to Iran in June 2022 and signed a 20-year partnership agreement aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation in various fields such as technology, agriculture, oil and gas, petrochemicals, tourism and culture.

On June 12, 2022, Iran’s Ambassador to Venezuela Hojatollah Soltani described the direct shipping line as a “lost chain” in relations between the two states, saying it could lead to a “major transformation” in bilateral relations.

The economies of Iran and Venezuela complement each other as Venezuela needs household appliances, petrochemical products, raw materials, medicines and medical equipment, all of which are made in Iran, he noted, adding that Venezuela has a large capacity in agriculture.

The growing cooperation was also highlighted at the ninth meeting of the Iran-Venezuela Joint Economic Committee, held in Tehran on November 15, 2022.

Co-chaired by Venezuela’s Transport Minister Ramon Blazquez and Iran’s Defense Minister Mohammadreza Gharaei Ashtiani, the three-day event explored new avenues of mutual cooperation.

At the end of the meeting, both sides signed a comprehensive cooperation document covering a variety of areas including industry, mining, energy, petrochemical, trade, agriculture, science and technology.

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