Iran sent five ships carrying fuel to Venezuela in May and June to help revive oil refineries in the South American country, which is suffering from a severe fuel shortage as a result of the US sanctions.
“We are helping each other,” Maduro said in an interview broadcast on state television on Sunday. “I think the Iranian experience will help us reinforce our management capacity.”
The Iranian shipments drew the ire of the United States, which has imposed draconian sanctions on both Iran and Venezuela with the aim of choking off their oil revenues.
The Venezuelan president declined to give further details of how Iran was helping, noting that he should maintain “silence since we are in a war.”
Maduro further said that he was mulling buying missiles from Iran.
His remarks came a few days after Colombian President Ivan Duque said Caracas was looking to purchase Iranian missiles.
Maduro said in the interview that he had asked Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino to look into “every possibility” of acquiring short-, medium- and long-range missiles from the Islamic Republic.
“Venezuela is not prohibited from acquiring weapons,” Maduro said. “If Iran is able to sell us a bullet or a missile, and we are able to buy it, we will.”
“It had not occurred to me, it had not occurred to us,” Maduro said during a televised broadcast with cabinet members on Saturday.
“Padrino, what a good idea, to speak with Iran to see what short, medium and long-range missiles they have, and if it is possible, given the great relations we have with Iran.”
Venezuela sends first fruit shipment to Iran
Iran’s Embassy to Venezuela said on Sunday that the Latin American country had sent its first shipment of fruits to Iran.
“Within the framework of win-win trade relations between #Iran and #Venezuela, the first shipment of Venezuelan mango and pineapple was shipped to Iran. Iran, along with its neighbors, can offer Venezuelan products to over 400 million inhabitants,” the embassy said in a tweet.
Iran recently opened the first Iranian supermarket in Caracas, “Megasis”, in a move praised by Venezuelans.
Relations between Iran and Venezuela have expanded in recent years. Iran was once involved in a series of joint ventures worth several billion dollars in energy, agriculture, housing, and infrastructure sectors in Venezuela.
Iran’s main industrial projects in Venezuela included a car assembly plant, a tractor manufacturing complex and a cement factory.
The Islamic Republic has also built more than 3,000 residential housing units for less privileged citizens in Venezuela, with 7,000 more to be completed.
Both countries are hugely rich in resources. Venezuela possesses the world’s biggest oil deposit while Iran owns the fourth largest oil and first largest gas reserves of the world.