Iran and Venezuela: could they reactivate their trade relationship?

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After a political decision and without real economic benefits, the airline Mahan Air decided to open a new direct route Tehran - Caracas

Iran and Venezuela: could they reactivate their commercial relations?

The political situation in which the flight made by a Mahan Airplane from Tehran to Caracas is involved is, at least, tense. All the factors are against this airline, the route and who it was transporting, because the great powers of the West, especially the United States, do not look kindly on either Iran or Venezuela.

Leer en español: Irán y Venezuela: ¿podrían reactivar sus relaciones comerciales?


The panorama of the Mahan Air airline is quite complicated since, in 2011, the United States Treasury Department included this company within the sanctions that are carried out both entities and individuals as a mechanism of economic pressure. And while these measures are unilateral on the part of the US government, they exert high pressure at the international level that ultimately leads to the economic ruin of those who suffer them.

A prominent example of this is that, so far this year, such important countries within European soil as Germany and France have definitively canceled the operations of Mahan Air in their territory, after considering that this corporation represents a danger to the safety and embodies ideals contrary to those of these countries. Similarly, this is also related to the decision of the Trump administration to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group and all its connections with Mahan Air in the matter of transporting weapons in hostile terrain, which motivated the sanctions first.

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Only political functions?

Regarding the specific flight that took place on April 8, the information is forceful at first glance, although it can be confusing. The international press reported the uninterrupted 16-hour trip between Tehran and Caracas, which meant acceptance of the idea of a commercial route between one country and the other. A similar course already had precedents in the government of Chávez, because the state company Conviasa was making a trip Caracas-Damasco-Tehran, also with more political than commercial purposes.

Regarding the trip, the US Senator Marco Rubio, one of the great detractors of Nicolás Maduro, also expressed himself, affirming that there was no reason for a route of these characteristics from a somewhat ironic position, since he said that unless Iran had become Suddenly in a great tourist attraction, there was no justification. Of course, everything from a United States security perspective.

On the Mahan Air flight, a commission of Iranian government officials was transported with the director of the Department for the Americas of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohsen Baharvand, at the head. The intention was, according to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, to review the cooperation agenda between both countries, as well as to comment on the crisis that Venezuela is currently experiencing.

A business history between the two countries

Jorge Arreaza, the chancellor, assured the press that, although the possibility of this commercial route was on the table, the only purpose of the flight was the conversation between officials, nothing more. It must be remembered that trade relations between these two countries date back to the early 2000s, when Hugo Chávez and Mahmud Ahmadinejad approached, in their efforts to escape the economic yoke of "imperialism." During the Chávez period, Venezuela's relations with Iran grew exponentially, especially in terms of energy cooperation and research and development in the nuclear field.

However, since Maduro's arrival in power and the growing crisis that Venezuela has faced, economic relations with Iran have cooled, as foreign investment is no longer a strong one, just as relations with China and China have cooled. Russia, where payments for Venezuelan oil production seek to pay existing debts, instead of generating new dividends.

The current relations between the two countries, apart from their strong ties to the oil and as members of OPEC, is based on the intense sanctions that both Iran and Venezuela have on the part of the United States, which leads them to be strategic allies in a pretty closed commercial panorama. And while trade relations between Iran and Venezuela are no secret to anyone since their steady rapprochement at the beginning of the 21st century, one thing is for sure: The United States continues to consider a danger that these two countries come together in an attempt to escape economic siege they have behind them.


LatinAmerican Post | Jorge Ovalle

Translated from "Irán y Venezuela: ¿podrían reactivar sus relaciones comerciales?"