22:26 GMT30 September 2020
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    The two countries have been actively cooperating after unilateral US sanctions started affecting their economies. Tehran has namely delivered several shipments to help Caracas restart its massive oil refining industry.

    The general cargo ship "Golsan", sailing under an Iranian flag, has left Venezuela with its cargo bays, capable of carrying upwards of 23,000 tonnes, loaded with aluminium, Tasnim News Agency reported, citing three anonymous sources.

    The vessel, owned and managed by Iranian companies, is currently completing its voyage across the Atlantic, although its destination remains unknown. According to information from the Marine Traffic monitoring service, the ship's declared destination is still set as La Guaira port in Venezuela, despite the vessel moving in the opposite direction.

    Neither the ship's managing company, nor the authorities of the two countries have responded to Tasnim's request regarding the nature of the shipment.

    While Venezuela is far from being among the world leaders in terms of aluminium production, the sale of the metal abroad is still responsible for a major part of the country's exports. As of 2018, the country's two main aluminium producers had a combined annual output of around 600,000 tonnes.

    Deepening Economic Ties Between Tehran and Caracas

    According to the news agency, the ship originally arrived in Venezuela with cargo for an Iranian supermarket based in the Latin American state before leaving port with a cargo of aluminium. The reported shipment comes as the two countries have intensified their economic cooperation.

    Tehran sent five tankers as well as cargo planes to the Latin American country carrying fuel and equipment to help the nation restart its oil refineries. The oil refining industry in Venezuela ground to a halt due to the impact of the American economic sanctions and was recently unable to process the extremely heavy blend of crude extracted from the country's oilfields.

    Iran, whose oil industry has also been suffering under US sanctions, volunteered to help Caracas, although it is unclear how the latter is repaying the favour. Washington's special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, has alleged that President Nicolas Maduro is spending the country's gold reserves for that purpose, but Iran has condemned these claims, arguing that the US has little idea about the nature of the two countries' cooperation.

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    Tags:
    shipment, aluminum, sanctions, Venezuela, Iran
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