Venezuela’s President Maduro says he will visit Iran 'very soon'
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday he will soon visit Iran to finalize new agreements on cooperation between the two nations.
Maduro made the comments during an interview with Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network, which was later broadcast in Spanish in the South American nation.
"I am going to Teheran very soon, for a visit that President (Ebrahim) Raisi offered me, so that we meet in person, to hold conversations and sign new agreements ... and speed up processes of cooperation," he said.
Maduro said he has had two telephone conversations with Iran's president, adding that they have agreed to work on new plans, without providing details.
Iran and Venezuela have been the target of harsh economic sanctions imposed by the US, which frowns upon the independence-seeking policies pursued by the governments in Tehran and Caracas.
Braving the American sanctions and threats, however, the two nations have kept up their trans-continental trade ties, much to the dismay of the US.
Maduro also said in his interview that the international community must express severe condemnation of the 2020 assassination of top anti-terror Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani, who was martyred in a US drone strike in Iraq last January.
“Is this really a world we want, where the White House issues an order to kill a hero of the struggle against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon?” Maduro inquired.
International community must condemn General Soleimani’s assassination
General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), was assassinated near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020, in a drone strike directly ordered by former US president Donald Trump. Soleimani’s companions, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were also martyred in the attack.
The Iranian general’s assassination highlighted the necessity of expelling all US forces from Iraq, with Iraqi resistance groups pursuing that goal ever since.
“General Soleimani was a smiling and optimistic man. I thank God for ever meeting him,” the Venezuelan president said, recalling that Soleimani visited Caracas sometime between March and April 2019.