Venezuela and Iran have agreed to deepen their economic cooperation with the signing of a series of agreements to fund joint investments and improve the supply of goods, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday.
Maduro said the deals would ensure a higher level of cooperation and deepen the bonds between the two nations. "Iran and Venezuela are an example of an alliance between two brother nations. These are six agreements of major importance for the economy of our countries," he said, according to Xinhua.
The agreements include pledges to cooperate in economic, financial, technological and scientific fields. Venezuela also signed a deal with Iran for a $500 million credit line to fund the development of joint projects and help Venezuela secure goods that Maduro said were "necessary for the Venezuelan people," including drugs and surgical equipment, Reuters reported. The two nations also agreed to fund a joint research program in nanotechnology.
The move comes after a major economic slowdown in Venezuela amid weakened capital access for the country caused by falling oil prices that left its people with shortages of critical consumer goods like dish soap, milk and toilet paper.
Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh reportedly said on Iranian television that the agreement was preliminary and would be reviewed by Iran’s finance ministry sometime in the future.
The two OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) nations have been allies since the death of Venezuela’s former leader Hugo Chavez. Both are vocal critics of U.S. sanctions and policies toward Iran and Latin America.
Maduro has warned that Venezuela is facing an “economic war” against the U.S., which he holds responsible for the soaring inflation and shortages in his country. In March, Washington issued a set of sanctions against Venezuelan officials after arrests of opposition figures and allegations of human rights abuses during anti-government protests in the South American country. The U.S. also declared a state of national emergency in Venezuela in March due to the threats that posed by its economic instability.