TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro arrived Friday in the Iranian capital of Tehran on a two-day state visit, the country's state-run media reported.
A high-ranking political and economic delegation from Venezuela, which like Iran is under heavy U.S. sanctions, is accompanying Maduro on the visit, following an invitation from Iran's hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi.
Maduro is on a Eurasian tour after being rebuffed by Washington, which decided not to invite him to the Summit of the Americas. His stops earlier this week included Algeria and Turkey.
Turkey is one of a handful of places around the world – Russia and Iran are other friendly states – where Maduro is welcome amid U.S. sanctions on his country.
Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, was not invited by the Biden administration to the Summit of the Americas due to the problems with democracy and human rights in those countries. That also led to a decision by Mexico’s president not to attend.
Venezuela has received Iranian tankers at its ports and in the past, Iran also exported cars to Venezuela.
Iran this week started removing 27 surveillance cameras from nuclear sites across the country, further blinding the U.N. nuclear watchdog from monitoring Tehran's uranium enrichment program.
Tensions remain high across the wider Middle East over the collapse of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers as U.S. sanctions and rising global food prices choke Iran’s ailing economy, putting further pressure on its government and its people.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord, raising tensions across the wider Middle East and sparking a series of attacks and incidents.