Iran and Venezuela, oil producers grappling with crippling U.S. sanctions, signed a 20-year cooperation plan in Tehran on Saturday, with the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader saying the allies would continue to resist pressure from Washington.
The signing ceremony, carried by Iranian state TV, was overseen by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro and took place at the Saadabad Palace in north Tehran.
The plan includes cooperation in the fields of oil, petrochemicals, defence, agriculture, tourism, and culture.
It also includes repair of Venezuelan refineries and the export of technical and engineering services.
“Venezuela has shown exemplary resistance against sanctions and threats from enemies and Imperialists,” Iran’s Raisi said. “The 20-year cooperation document is testimony to the will of the two countries to develop ties.”
“Sanctions and threats against the Iranian nation over the past 40 plus years have been numerous, but the Iranian nation has turned these sanctions into an opportunity for the country’s progress,” he said.
Maduro said through an interpreter that a weekly flight from Caracas to Tehran would begin on July 18.
In a meeting with Maduro, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed Iran would continue to back Venezuela in the face of U.S. pressures, according to state media.
“The successful experience of the two countries showed that resistance is the only way to deal with these pressures,” Khamenei said. “The two countries have such close ties with no other country, and Iran has shown that it takes risks in times of danger and holds its friends’ hands.”
Maduro said: “You came to our aid when the situation in Venezuela was very difficult and no country was helping us.”
Defying U.S. pressures, Iran has sent several cargos of fuel to Venezuela and helped in refinery repairs. Last month, Venezuela began importing Iranian heavy crude, widening a swap agreement signed last year to exchange Iranian condensate for Venezuelan heavy crude.
Maduro arrived in Tehran on Friday with a high-ranking political and economic delegation after visiting Turkey and Algeria.
During the visit, Iran delivered to Venezuela the second of four Aframax-sized oil tankers, with a capacity of 800,000 barrels, ordered from the Iranian company SADRA, state media said. SADRA has been under U.S. sanctions for more than a decade over its links to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
In May, Iran’s state-owned National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Co signed a contract worth about 110 million euros to repair Venezuela’s smaller 146,000 barrel-per-day refinery.
Dozens of migrants die in truck in Texas
More than 40 migrants were found dead inside a tractor-trailer in Texas State of the United States on Monday, reports said.
Sixteen other people found inside the trailer were taken to hospital for heat stroke and exhaustion, including four minors, Reuters reported citing the fire department of the San Antonio city where the truck was found.
Officials also said three people were arrested following the incident.
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the suffocation of the migrants in the truck the “tragedy in Texas” on Twitter and said the local consulate was en route to the scene, though the nationalities of the victims had not been confirmed.
There have been a record number of migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, which has sparked criticism of the immigration policies of U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat.
Temperatures in San Antonio, which is about 250 km from the Mexican border, swelled to a high of 39.4 degrees Celsius on Monday with high humidity.
In July 2017, ten migrants died after being transported in a tractor-trailer that was discovered by San Antonio police in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The driver was sentenced the following year to life in prison for his role in the smuggling operation.
G-7 leaders set to commit to long haul in backing Ukraine
Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers are set to commit themselves to the long haul in supporting Ukraine as they meet in the German Alps and confer by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The G-7 leaders will begin Monday’s session of their three-day summit with a focus on Ukraine. Later, they will be joined by the leaders of five democratic emerging economies — India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina — for a discussion on climate change, energy and other issues, AP reported.
The war in Ukraine was already at the forefront of the G-7 leaders’ minds as they opened their summit at the secluded Schloss Elmau luxury hotel on Sunday — just as Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv for the first time in weeks.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G-7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to.” Britain’s Boris Johnson warned the leaders not to give in to “fatigue.”
On Monday, they have the opportunity to demonstrate that unity to Zelenskyy and reaffirm their commitment to supporting Kyiv financially and otherwise, AP reported.
Biden hopes to use his trip to Europe to proclaim the unity of the coalition pressing to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as much as he is urging allies to do even more — seeking to counter doubts about its endurance as the war grinds into its fifth month.
The summit’s host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said last week that he wants to discuss the outlines of a “Marshall plan for Ukraine” with his G-7 counterparts, referring to the U.S.-sponsored plan that helped revive European economies after World War II.
With the war still in progress and destruction mounting by the day, it’s unlikely to be a detailed plan at this stage. Scholz has said that “rebuilding Ukraine will be a task for generations.”
The G-7 already is committed to help finance Ukraine’s immediate needs. Finance ministers from the group last month agreed to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to help Kyiv keep basic services functioning and prevent tight finances from hindering its defense against Russian forces, AP reported.
G7 nations announce Russia gold ban as summit starts under shadow of war
Members of the Group of Seven wealthy nations on Sunday announced a ban on imports of Russian gold as the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps kicked off under the shadow of the war in Ukraine and consequences ranging from energy shortages to a food crisis.
The move by Britain, the United States, Japan and Canada is part of efforts to tighten the sanctions squeeze on Moscow and cut off its means of financing the invasion of Ukraine more than four months into a conflict Russian President Vladimir Putin calls a special military operation, Reuters reported.
“The measures we have announced today will directly hit Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
“We need to starve the Putin regime of its funding. The UK and our allies are doing just that.”
A senior U.S. administration representative said the G7 would make an official announcement on the gold import ban on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
“This is a key export, a key source of revenue for Russia in terms of their ability to transact with the global financial system,” the U.S. official said.
Russian gold exports were worth $15.45 billion last year and wealthy Russians have been buying bullion to reduce the financial impact of Western sanctions, the British government said.
As well as the gold import ban, G7 leaders were also having “really constructive” talks on a possible price cap on Russian oil imports, a German government source said.
The three-day summit takes place against an even darker backdrop than last year, when British, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Japanese and U.S. leaders met for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soaring global energy and food prices are hitting economic growth in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine, with the United Nations warning of an “unprecedented global hunger crisis”.
Big cats in urban jungle: LA mountain lions, Mumbai leopards
Pakistan-administered Kashmir gives 100 million rupees for Afghan quake victims
Pakistan minister calls for easing sanctions on Afghanistan
Chinese spacecraft acquires images of entire Mars
IEA, US meet in Doha to discuss freeing of Afghanistan’s frozen assets
Da Afghanistan Bank receives $900 million in cash aid to date
Nuristan forest fire rages for the 11th day
Thrive By Five app officially launched in Afghanistan to boost early learning
Heavy storms and drought damage fresh fruits in Kandahar
Exports to Pakistan increase sharply, thanks to coal and cotton
Saar: UK’s support from IEA discussed
Zerbena: Expanding Afghanistan’s economic relations with Uzbekistan discussed
Tahawol: Uzbekistan to host a summit on Afghanistan
Zerbena: Establishment of Afghan Invest company discussed
Saar: Afghanistan’s relations towards its neighbors discussed
Latest News5 days ago
121 children among those killed in Afghanistan earthquake: UNICEF
Latest News5 days ago
Earthquake victims in Gayan district still in need of food and shelter
Latest News4 days ago
Former commander of Faryab’s uprising forces returns to Afghanistan
Business4 days ago
IEA calls for release of frozen funds following deadly earthquake
Sport3 days ago
Afghanistan-Pakistan ODI series ‘not possible this year’
Featured4 days ago
China pledges over $7 million in aid for quake victims
Featured4 days ago
Thousands of earthquake victims in need of water and food, at risk of disease
Latest News3 days ago
Red Crescent allocates 10 Million AFN for earthquake victims