The Risks of Guaido's Political Victory for Iran
Iran’s former ambassador to Venezuela believes: “Iran-Venezuela ties will be undermined if Juan Guaidó wins and Iran may be hurt because of US dominance over Venezuela’s oil resources and its impact on global prices.”
Tensions in Venezuela’s domestic politics have been growing. Iran enjoys good relations with the government of Nicolás Maduro and it is not clear in case of Guadio’s victory, who is a US supporter and seeks to restore ties with Israel, what will happen to Iran’s investments in Venezuela which have been underway since the era of Hugo Chavez. On the other hand, regarding Donald Trump’s order to impose oil sanctions on Venezuela to show US support for Guaido, now the question is to what extent can those sanctions affect Iran’s oil exports?
Ahmad Sobhani, Iran’s former ambassador to Venezuela and former director general for Latin America and West Asian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says: “The Chavez emergence in Venezuela as a popular and independence-seeking movement infuriated the US and its allies including Israel despite the fact that Venezuela presently enjoys many freedoms and even the association of Venezuela-based Israelis and Zionists is officially active in that country. However, Israel has always been involved in behind the scenes propaganda against the government of Venezuela. It was also proven that a number of weapons used in the last coup attempt in Venezuela were Israeli.”
Sobhani added: “This is why Israel has supported Guaido in the recent leader-making show in Venezuela. Therefore, if the Venezuelan opposition takes office and revives Tel Aviv-Caracas relations again then Venezuela ties with countries like Iran will be weakened.”
Commenting on the fate of Iran’s investments in Venezuela after the victory of Guaido, Iran’s former ambassador to Venezuela said: “The truth is that Iran never had many investments in Venezuela. Over four billion dollars of investments have been made in that country by Iran’s previous governments, 50 to 60 percent of which was related to technical and engineering services offered by the Iranian private sector in the field of residential construction projects in Venezuela and they were all paid in full. Another project was related to a cement factory which was also settled. There was also a joint tractor-manufacturing factory which had sold its products in advance and even at a price higher than what was sold inside Iran, but it was still economically profitable for Venezuela.”
He added: “Iran’s 11th and 12th governments have not been involved in economic relations with Venezuela and that is why trade volume between the two countries is presently near zero. However, Turkey has increased its trade ties with Venezuela to more than one billion dollars while Ankara played no active role in Venezuela in the time of Iran’s past governments. Therefore, presently, Iran has no major economic interests in Venezuela which could be jeopardized by the victory of the latter’s opponents in that country.”
Commenting on the impact of Venezuela’s oil sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, Sobhani said: “Currently, Venezuela is not exporting much oil on the global market and its stoppage will not in favor Iran in any way. Moreover, the low amount of Venezuelan oil exports has no specific market. Venezuelan officials have exported part of the country’s oil to Russia and another part is being sent to China in return for the latter’s commitments in Venezuela. However, if Guaido wins, the US will dominate Venezuela’s oil which forms 20 percent of world oil [resources]. Consequently, in addition to Venezuela’s oil resources and shale oil, the US will have a grip on global energy with its good relations with certain Arab countries. In that case and referring to Venezuela’s potential for increasing its oil production, the US can affect oil prices by increasing production and consequently damaging Iran in this respect.
Source: Persia Digest