Venezuela and Iran have agreed to further strengthen cooperation against “imperial aggression” targeting the two countries’ people, President Nicolas Maduro has announced after speaking with Iran’s president-elect.
“I had a telephone conversation with Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President-Elect of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We agreed to strengthen our ties of brotherhood and cooperation to advance in the joint struggle against imperial aggression against our peoples,” Maduro tweeted, accompanying the tweet with photos of him speaking to Raisi on Wednesday.
Sostuve una conversación telefónica con Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, Presidente Electo de la República Islámica de Irán. Acordamos fortalecer nuestros lazos de hermandad y cooperación para avanzar en la lucha conjunta frente a las agresiones imperiales en contra de nuestros pueblos. pic.twitter.com/KMnOcvIwYH— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) June 23, 2021
Raisi handily won Iran’s presidential elections last week, garnering nearly 62 percent of the vote and eliminating the need for a second round. Iran’s strategic partners, including Russia and China congratulated Raisi over his victory, but the United States and Israel blasted the vote, questioning its fairness or characterising the victor as a “butcher.”
‘Axis of Annoyance’
US officials and think tank analysts in Washington have regularly expressed frustration with the strategic partnership between Venezuela and Iran, characterising the alliance as an “axis of annoyance” amid Washington’s apparent inability to sanction and threaten the two nations into submission.
The US escalated its pressure against Caracas in early 2019, carrying out what Venezuelan authorities described as a coup attempt, seizing billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets abroad and attempting to halt the export of oil – the lifeblood of the Latin American country’s hard currency earnings.
Last Thursday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed that the White House was “monitoring the situation,” and warned that the US was “prepared to leverage applicable authorities, including sanctions, against any actor that enables Iran’s ongoing provision of weapons to violent partners and proxies around the world.”
Price did not specify what makes the Iranian-Venezuelan partnership “violent,” given that Caracas hasn’t waged any wars since World War II, and Tehran hasn’t provoked a war since 1795.
Furthermore, under international law, Washington does not have any right to carry out any actions against Iranian vessels operating in international waters.