US Government 'No Longer In Control' Of World, Iran's Zarif Says In Venezuela
The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif who wrapped up a two-day official visit to Venezuela on Thursday, has said that Iran believes the US government no longer can “control what’s happening in the world” and the "era of Western hegemony is over".
"Today, the United States and its allies can’t control what’s happening in the world. They’ve lost control,” Zarif told a forum in Caracas, alongside his Venezuelan counterpart, Jorge Arreaza.
During Zarif's visit, the two countries agreed to continue their "defense cooperation". After meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Zarif said both countries "are legally entitled to develop cooperation in this field," and added that the defense agreements between the two countries would continue.
Elliot Abrams, the US Special Representative for the two countries warned October 26 that if Iranian missiles are shipped, they will either be destroyed on route or on the ground once they arrive in Venezuela.
Zarif is currently in Cuba, the second leg of his three-nation Latin American tour. He is scheduled to visit Bolivia next to attend the inauguration of President Luis Arce.
With draconian US sanctions on Venezuela, Iran which is itself experiencing some of the harshest US sanctions, has rushed to Maduro's assistance with fuel, refinery operations assistance and other technology as well as food.
In defiance of the United States, Iran has used its sanctioned IRGC-affiliated Mahan Air flights to send refinery equipment for renovation of Venezuela's dilapidated oil refineries since April and at least eight oil tankers with over a million and a half barrels of gasoline and other fuels for the country with the largest oil reserves in the world since May. Iran even opened the first Iranian supermarket in Caracas in June.
The last shipment of Iranian gasoline carried by three tankers reached the fuel-starved Venezuela in early October to help resolve the nation's drastic fuel problems and ensuing popular discontent with President Nicolas Maduro's government.
On October 28 an Iranian 747 aircraft owned by Iran's Qeshm Fars Air allegedly carrying weapons landed in Venezuela.
The US charged that Venezuela uses gold instead of money to pay for the Iranian commodities it receives to circumvent the financial sanctions which the United States has imposed on both countries making trade through international banks next to impossible.
Iran first denied the accusation but Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a top Revolutionary Guards officer who is Khamenei's advisor in military affairs told Mehr news agency September 27: We gave gasoline to Venezuela and received gold bullion and we brought the gold with airplanes to Iran to prevent any incident during transit.
Relations between Iran and the Latin American country considerably expanded during the presidencies of Hugo Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad since 2007 when they announced the establishment of an "Axis of Unity" against "US imperialism". The two presidents signed more than 250 deals.