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Zarif in Venezuela: What do mullahs have for Caracas?

Sunday 21/July/2019 - 12:16 PM
The Reference
Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar
طباعة

Iran’s foreign minister announced his country's intention to provide assistance to Venezuela in order to help restore calm and security to the Venezuelan street after arriving in Caracas on Friday, July 19 to participate in the meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a press statement that the Iranian delegation will discuss the economic relations between the two parties, considering the relationship between the two countries important in order to form an alliance of independent states to stand against US policies towards Latin American countries.

Despite statements by the Iranian foreign minister in support of the Venezuelan regime, he gave no indication of the nature of the aid Iran’s mullah regime intends to present to Caracas.

The relationship between Venezuela and Iran is not a normal one because of the economic and financial partnership between them, which makes the political relationship stronger, expert Norhan Anwar said. Iran does not want the opposition in Venezuela to act as a wake-up call to the opposition in Iran by providing a strong example, so Iran considers the victory of the regime in Venezuela to be a victory for its own regime, she added.

Iran is expected to use its Hezbollah arm to support the Venezuelan regime because of its significant interests in Venezuela, with the support of President Nicolas Maduro himself, Anwar said.

She noted that Iran will use its relations with Venezuelan businessmen to support the regime, including through suspicious activities, such as with Tareck El Aissami, the former vice president of Venezuela, who has 20 money-laundering operations that can support the regime, while Ayman Joumaa carried out money-laundering operations worth $200 million, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Dr. Hisham al-Ali, an Iraqi expert on Iranian affairs, said that Iran’s provision of assistance to other countries is an act of propaganda aimed at showing that it is not affected by the US sanctions imposed on it.

Ali added that he does not think the aid will be of value, given Iran's severe economic crisis, but it is natural that Iran is trying to intensify its diplomatic activity during this period of increasing tension in the Gulf region because of its conflict with Washington and the crisis in Yemen.

In any case, there is progress in favor of Iran in the political, diplomatic and intelligence fields, with the beginning of Washington's retreat from its violent policy against Tehran, Ali said, adding that there are other diplomatic actions Tehran will undertake in its feverish race with Washington, which is normal under these circumstances.

The crisis in Venezuela erupted on January 23 between incumbent President Nicolas Maduro –backed by Russia, China and Iran – and National Assembly President Juan Guaido – supported by the United States and European countries – who declared himself the transitional president of the country.

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