Venezuela signed a 20-year cooperation agreement with Iran Saturday, a day after President Nicolas Maduro praised the Islamic Republic for sending badly needed fuel to his country.

The accord comes as the two countries, among the world’s top oil producers, grapple with US sanctions that are crippling their exports.

Maduro said, alongside Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, that the cooperation would include the energy and financial sectors as well as a collaboration on “defense projects.”

Raisi: Venezuela’s ‘determination to resist sanctions a good sign’

The arrangement “shows the determination of the high-level officials of the two countries for development of relations in different fields,” Raisi said at the joint news conference in Tehran. “Venezuela has passed hard years but the determination of the people, the officials and the president of the country was that they should resist the sanctions.”

“This is a good sign that proves to everyone that resistance will work and will force the enemy to retreat,” the Iranian president added.

In addition to the 20-year accord inked by the two countries, “Iran and Venezuela signed documents on cooperation in the political, cultural, tourism, economic, oil and petrochemical fields,” state news agency IRNA said.

Maduro said: “We have important projects of cooperation between Iran and Venezuela in the fields of energy, petrochemical, oil, gas and refineries.”

Maduro: Caracas to Tehran direct flights ‘to promote tourism’

From July 18, direct flights will begin operating between Caracas and Tehran “in order to promote tourism and the union between our countries,” he said, adding that “Venezuela is open to receive tourists from Iran.”

Maduro is on a Eurasia tour after President Joe Biden chose not to invite him to the Summit of the Americas. Before arriving in Iran, he was in Algeria and Turkey.

jsi/kb (EFE, AP, AFP, Reuters)

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