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The New Arab Staff

Iran boosts Venezuela ties with new coronavirus aid shipment

The United States has been historically hostile to both countries, enacting sanctions against them. [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2020

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Venezuela's Planning Minister Ricardo Menendez said Iran gave vital medical supplies and testing kits to help Venezuela against its fight against the novel virus.

Iran has sent a shipment of humanitarian aid to help Venezuelans tackle Covid-19, another sign of strengthening relations between the two countries that are both under steep US sanctions.

Planning Minister Ricardo Menendez said Iran gave vital medical supplies and testing kits to help Venezuela against its fight against the novel coronavirus.

Only 2,377 coronavirus infections and 22 deaths have been confirmed in the Latin American country, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University. However, health experts are warning figures may be substantially higher due to the country’s dire economic situation, which has severely undermined health funding.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government blames that on US sanctions, including against state oil company PDVSA, but many analysts say the regime has failed to invest in or maintain infrastructure over the past decades.

This humanitarian effort comes after a recent shipment of five tankers of crude oil was sent to Caracas, which President Nicolas Maduro said he would honour with a visit to Tehran as soon as possible.

"I am obliged to go to personally thank the people," Maduro said in a television address. He did not specify a date for the visit.

The two countries have plans to sign a myriad of economic agreements regarding energy, finance, agriculture, military, and health.

Menendez said Venezuela and Iran plan to set "a broad development agenda" against "imperialism". Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi said Tehran will export more fuel to Venezuela if the country needs it.

The US has been historically hostile to both countries, enacting severe sanctions which they say have curbed their ability to fight an outbreak of Covid-19.

The oil deals have attracted the ire of the US, which has closely monitored the shipments, concerned that Iran and Venezuela are taking their long-standing ties to a new strategic level.

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