Iran has received gold from Venezuela for the fuel cargoes Tehran had sent to the Latin American country, a commander at Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said over the weekend, as carried by Middle East Monitor.
According to Major General Yahya Safavi of IRGC, Iran transported the gold from Venezuela to Tehran via airplanes in order to “prevent any accident during transit.”
Iran is also helping Venezuela in preventing cyber attacks, the Iranian military official said.
Iran and Venezuela, both under sanctions from the United States which aim to cut off their oil exports, have boosted cooperation in recent years.
Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela is paying Iran in gold for help with Venezuela’s crumbling oil industry, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said earlier this year.
“Those planes that are coming in from Iran that are bringing things for the oil industry are returning with the payments for those things: gold,” Abrams said in April.
In April alone, Venezuela loaded 9 tons of gold, worth around US$500 million, on airplanes for Iran, in exchange for Iranian help for repairing Venezuela’s crumbling refineries, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
Apart from helping with oil services, Iran has declared its readiness to help Venezuela deal with its severe gasoline shortage and earlier this year managed to send cargoes of fuel to the Latin American country, which holds the world’s largest oil reserves.
The United States intercepted and seized in August four such gasoline cargoes bound for Venezuela.
Iran and Venezuela have also recently exchanged crude oil, in defiance of the U.S. sanctions. After Iran had delivered condensate to Venezuela via an Iran-flagged tanker, the same tanker loaded Venezuelan crude oil at a terminal in the Latin American country, Bloomberg reported last week, quoting a shipping report.