Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced yesterday his intention to make an official visit to Iran soon to sign a number of cooperation agreements, including those related to energy and defence.
"I am obliged to go to personally thank the people," Maduro said in a state television address, reported Reuters.
Maduro also stated on Twitter: "I will go soon to Iran as soon as the epidemiological conditions allow us to participate in the Iranian-Venezuelan high-level government committee, to sign agreements and documents on cooperation in the fields of energy, finance, military, agricultural, technological, and scientific, as well as in the field of health care."
The move comes amid growing ties between the countries, both hit with US-imposed sanctions with Iran having now dispatched five fuel tankers providing much-needed gasoline. According to PressTV, the fifth and last tanker in the flotilla has already entered Venezuelan territorial waters and has been escorted by the Venezuelan military.
In an interview with Al-Mayadeen, the Venezuelan leader also praised the role of Iranian-supported Hezbollah in Lebanon and said he was confident that the movement, which has an established presence in the South American country, is ready to defend Venezuela if it were to be attacked. In April, it was reported that Maduro appointed former vice president Tareck El Aissami, accused of being a Hezbollah supporter, oil minister.
Maduro's predecessor, the late President Hugo Chavez had forged close ties with Tehran and had visited Iran on several occasions. Maduro visited then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2008 as Venezuela's foreign minister.