Iran and Venezuela have maintained a powerful “strategic alliance” from the earliest days of the administrations of Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chávez.[1] The alliance has included shared rhetoric of solidarity between each states in opposition to a mutual adversary within the type of the US, in addition to intensive cooperation in financial, diplomatic, and power spheres.[2] The sturdy ties between each states, regardless of the substantial geographic distance between them, are illustrated by odd moments and declarations throughout the relationship. Iranian airliner Mahan Air reestablished a direct flight to Caracas in April 2019 in defiance of Western sanctions on the agency’s operations and expressed hopes that the corporate may preserve this air path to Venezuela.[3] The Iranian Navy additionally introduced in December 2018 that it may deploy its new stealth destroyer and a small flotilla of warships to Venezuela to hold out a five-month expeditionary mission.[4]

Assessments of the Iran-Venezuela relationship have largely centered on the partnership throughout the Chávez and Ahmadinejad presidencies within the early 2000s. Moreover, these evaluations have primarily revolved round two viewpoints. One perspective portrays the alliance as a supplier of sensible, strategic advantages that permits each states to avoid worldwide sanctions and acquire economically from mutual cooperation. The opposite perspective frames the connection as an ideological one solely rooted in anti-Americanism that permits each states to amplify their opposition to the US.[5] Nevertheless, the present literature on the connection lacks an up to date analysis of the alliance underneath the present-day administrations of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and President Hassan Rouhani in Iran.

This paper seeks to fill this hole by presenting an up to date evaluation of the Iran-Venezuela alliance from 2013(when Maduro and Rouhani each assumed energy of their respective international locations) to 2020. It seeks to reply the next query: to what extent can the persistence of present Iran-Venezuela relations into the Maduro-Rouhani period be defined by the anti-American sentiment that originated throughout the Chávez-Ahmadinejad interval? This paper postulates that the intensification of U.S. most strain campaigns towards each states have maintained the alliance’s orientation round an ideologically-driven anti-Americanism. It seeks to check this speculation by evaluating the prevalence of high-level bilateral conferences between each international locations’ leaders with the imposition of U.S. sanctions from 2013 to 2020.

This paper is split into a number of segments. It can first discover the literature on theories of alliance formation in worldwide relations and former analyses of the Ahmadinejad-Chávez period of the Iran-Venezuela alliance to find out underlying motivations for each international locations’ alignment. The paper will then discover the methodology that it employs to evaluate the Iran-Venezuela alliance underneath Rouhani and Maduro. It can define the principle speculation, outline the scope and variables of the research, and clarify how the investigation will check this speculation. It can then describe the outcomes of the evaluation and draw conclusions relating to the alliance within the Maduro-Rouhani period in addition to implications for U.S. coverage in the direction of each international locations.

Literature Evaluate

The literature on the Iran-Venezuela alliance has established a set of theories and interpretations for the partnership’s creation; nevertheless, this paper seeks to contribute to it by gauging whether or not these works’ findings proceed to carry true even within the Maduro-Rouhani period. It seeks to discover whether or not the alliance extends past the personalities of Ahmadinejad and Chávez and depends on deeper structural elements that transcend anyone particular person chief.

Theories of Alliance Formation

Theories of alliance formation in worldwide relations broadly clarify the persistence of the Iran-Venezuela relationship. With a view to perceive the theoretical foundation for this alliance’s creation, one should look at the rationale and drivers behind the formation of alliances in worldwide relations. The research of the literature on alliance formation might yield helpful theoretical insights on why Iran and Venezuela have chosen to align with one another.

Stephen M. Walt presents a framework for alliance formation in his effort to make clear and enhance upon preexisting literature on neorealist idea in worldwide relations. In worldwide relations, states can select to both align with different weak companions to steadiness towards a extra highly effective risk or bandwagon with this rising hegemon for self-preservation.[6]Walt, nevertheless, claims that conventional viewpoints in worldwide relations have framed this choice solely in accordance with states’ consideration of relative energy. Walt opposes this framework and argues that states make these choices in line with probably the most urgent threats to their survival relatively than simply pure assessments of the distribution energy within the worldwide enviornment. In his view, a state may ally with a extra highly effective one to comprise a comparatively weaker adversary if the latter posed a right away risk to the state at hand.[7]

Walt goes additional to stipulate 4 elements that affect a state’s risk notion of potential adversaries: combination energy, proximate energy, offensive energy, and offensive intentions. Mixture energy refers to a possible adversary’s complete sources on the financial, demographic, navy, and technological ranges. Proximate energy refers back to the adversary’s risk based mostly on its distance from the state. Offensive energy refers to an adversary’s navy functionality to instantly threaten a state’s safety, whereas offensive intention refers to an adversary’s look as a risk based mostly on some formidable international coverage.[8]

Finally, Walt argues that between balancing and bandwagoning, states favor the previous as a result of a balancing coalition is much less prone to defection as members would naturally search to withstand a threatening adversary for their very own safety.[9] Moreover, membership in such a coalition preserves a state’s independence, whereas bandwagoning utterly topics the state to the whim and preferences of a hegemon, which may change at any time.[10] Along with his emphasis on balancing, Walt prefers to border the institution of alliances when it comes to a “steadiness of risk” mannequin relatively than a steadiness of energy paradigm.

Michael N. Barnett and Jack S. Levy current an alternate angle to Walt’s framework by inspecting motivations for alignment on the idea of a regime’s want for self-preservation at residence. In distinction to Walt’s rationalization of a state’s alignment with others based mostly on exterior threats, Barnett and Levy argue that regimes usually prioritize their very own survival domestically first earlier than contemplating the state’s exterior surroundings. These regimes can both type alliances with different states to acquire the sources they should defend them at residence or put together their very own home belongings to fulfill challenges to their rule.[11] The shift to exterior alliances for inside safety is enticing to those regimes for various causes.

Alliances present the regime monetary support and navy sources from its exterior companions that it couldn’t readily procure by itself, in addition to status if the allies have a famend ideological fame.[12] As well as, reliance on exterior help compensates for a regime’s weak navy equipment and permits the federal government to pay attention its sources on home spending and elite patronage, which permits it to stay in energy. The regime wouldn’t must reallocate these sources to protection expenditures and threat the loyalty of its purchasers and supporters.[13]

Walt’s work on the steadiness of risk and the Barnett and Levy piece on home sources of alliance creation are each vital as a result of they type the final outlines for the faculties of thought on the Iran-Venezuela alignment talked about on this paper’s introduction. Walt’s arguments broadly conform to the “ideological” college, which emphasizes each international locations’ fierce resentment in the direction of the US and factors to a banner of revolutionary anti-Americanism unifying the companions. Barnett and Levy’s arguments, then again, set the muse for the “pragmatism” college, which means that each states’ cooperation provides financial incentives to at least one one other and the means to keep away from worldwide sanctions.

Each Caracas and Tehran oppose the risk posed by the US to their international locations, given Washington’s appreciable international attain, intensive navy sources, and its widespread financial affect that permits sanctions towards Iran and Venezuela. Nevertheless, the regimes in these international locations, which search to protect their rule, additionally understand the exterior risk of the US as a direct problem to their very own survival along with the home opposition that these governments already face. Iran and Venezuela could possibly be stated to have merged their curiosity in exterior protection towards Washington with the regime curiosity in self-preservation, creating a singular overlap between state and regime’s pursuits. This overlap probably explains the Iran-Venezuela alignment however raises questions concerning the alliance’s utility and the sensible advantages it offers its members for the preservation of regime safety and state protection. 

The Iran-Venezuela Alliance underneath Ahmadinejad and Chávez

This paper argues that the present iteration of the alliance underneath Maduro and Rouhani remains to be outlined by an ideological anti-Americanism on account of intense U.S. sanctions campaigns towards each international locations. With a view to totally consider this argument, one should look at earlier research of the connection underneath the 2 leaders’ predecessors, Chávez and Ahmadinejad. The findings from these research will set up the instructions and advantages that the alliance has already loved and might define doable continuities or modifications that may seem within the interval of research. As well as, they’ll additionally confirm the motivations for alignment outlined within the articles on alliance formation.

Probably the most extensively cited students on the connection is Elodie Brun, who presents a balanced account of the alliance that caters to each colleges of thought and explains the potential advantages that an alignment with Iran introduced Chávez’s international coverage. Brun argues that the Iran-Venezuela alliance enabled Chávez to pursue an impartial international coverage that rejected cooperation with main powers akin to the US and inspired creating states to emulate this similar plan of action.[14] She goes additional to state that each Chávez and Ahmadinejad’s international insurance policies converged round opposition in the direction of the US and that the 2 international locations’ sought interdependence with each other in 4 classes: political, navy, financial, and cultural.[15] Probably the most distinguished examples of the 2 international locations’ cooperation occurred in 2005. Venezuela, underneath Chávez, vocalized diplomatic help for Iran’s nuclear program and was the one nation to vote towards an Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company (IAEA) decision that condemned Iran for its violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).[16]           

Finally, Brun argues that these totally different interactions present that Chávez’s Venezuela admired Iran for its standing as an impartial oil-exporter that fostered camaraderie with different creating international locations. Each international locations discovered widespread floor on a want to oppose the U.S.-dominated worldwide order and sought to emulate the non-alignment of the Third World that existed throughout the Chilly Conflict.[17] Different students on the Iran-Venezuela alliance elaborate additional on the findings in Brun’s evaluation by presenting their very own interpretations of the partnership’s formation and upkeep, which may be grouped beneath in line with the varsity of thought. Whereas a lot of analyses exist on the Ahmadinejad-Chávez period of Iran-Venezuela relations, this literature overview contains solely a choose pattern of those works on account of related overlapping conclusions and interpretations that these items make with each other.

Arguments of the Pragmatist Faculty

Sean Goforth argues that the alliance’s formation is a response to Iran and Venezuela’s conclusion that neither nation may confront the US alone. Go forth states that the alliance goals to make U.S. motion towards both nation expensive and cut back Washington’s strain on the 2 companions. He argues for this declare by pointing to Venezuela’s oil exports to Iran in defiance of Western sanctions, Iranian monetary support to Venezuela, and the alleged presence of Hezbollah in Venezuela to hold out assaults towards U.S. pursuits within the Western Hemisphere.[18] Goforth’s evaluation corresponds with the pragmatic college’s perception that the mutual financial beneficial properties that Iran and Venezuela purchase from the connection additionally assist each international locations dodge worldwide sanctions towards them.

Whereas Brun and Goforth broadly spotlight the partnership’s financial and political benefits, Luis Fleischman analyzes its advantages from a strategic political-military perspective. Fleischman states that Iran sees Venezuela as an entry level into Latin America for Tehran to increase its navy and political affect within the area and discover different like-minded companions to attenuate its isolation.[19] He additionally claims that Venezuela values the connection as a result of it may be taught uneven warfare from Iran’s expertise on this space, given Tehran’s file of sponsoring sub-state teams throughout the Center East to advertise its affect within the area.[20] Fleischman’s arguments body the connection from a safety standpoint and spotlight its clandestine, gray-zone parts.

Arguments of the Ideological Faculty

Kavon Hakimzadeh argues that the alliance is pushed by each international locations’ want for companions within the midst of worldwide isolation and the personalities of Ahmadinejad and Chávez. Nevertheless, Hakimzadeh largely dismisses the risk or significance posed by the partnership. He factors to a sequence of unfulfilled commerce agreements between each international locations in gentle of their financial incompatibility with one another in addition to the ideological variations between their regimes. He finally concludes that the alliance will primarily revolve round anti-U.S. rhetoric however is not going to threaten Washington in any substantial means.[21] Hakimzadeh’s evaluation is critical within the research of Iran-Venezuela relations as a result of his piece is among the most important on the alliance’s lack of utility, highlighting the ideological college’s pessimism in the direction of the importance of the partnership.

The latest research on the connection by Carmen Pereira Stallaert frames the alliance underneath Chávez and Ahmadinejad by the lens of peripheral-realism, an alternate mannequin of the realist college of thought in worldwide relations.[22] Stallaert sees Venezuela and Iran as insurgent states whose main motivation is to reject the U.S.-led worldwide order based mostly on their shared ideology of anti-Americanism.[23] This shared ideology is manifested of their diplomatic cooperation in multilateral our bodies such because the Group of Petroleum Exporting International locations (OPEC) and Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). Her article additionally delves briefly into the way forward for the alliance underneath Maduro and Rouhani, however her evaluation summarizes an inventory of bilateral conferences relatively than assess the connection’s trajectory. In consequence, Stallaert’s piece underscores the necessity for an in-depth evaluation of the Maduro-Rouhani period of the alliance since its inception in 2013, which this paper seeks to cowl.

Important Speculation and Observable Implications

This paper has now outlined the related literature on the Iran-Venezuela alliance and broadly mentioned the 2 colleges of thought on the bilateral relationship. It can now set up the speculation that this research seeks to broadly check. This paper argues that the Maduro-Rouhani iteration of the alliance is defined by the ideological college and that each international locations’ mutual opposition to the US offers the companions an incentive to deepen their ties. This speculation broadly assumes that the enhancement of U.S. sanctions towards each international locations, notably underneath the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, offers each states widespread floor to rally round.[24] This research means that underneath the circumstances of this speculation, it will be widespread to see the next proportion of bilateral conferences between each states’ leaders to collectively denounce U.S. aggression, reaffirm the worth of the strategic alliance, and help the home positions of one another’s regimes.[25]

The pragmatic college of thought argues that the Maduro-Rouhani partnership is motivated by strategic cooperation for mutual beneficial properties in areas akin to commerce, worldwide petroleum markets, expertise, and diplomacy. These beneficial properties could be used to assist each states keep away from sanctions. Beneath this college’s circumstances, this research additionally expects bilateral conferences through which each international locations’ high-ranking officers signal memorandums of understanding on financial cooperation, announce commerce offers, and pledge strategic cooperation in multilateral boards.[26] This development is essential to notice as a result of it’s doable that not each assembly examined by this research essentially includes an overt anti-American message. The paper examines each the timing of Iran-Venezuela conferences with U.S. sanctions in addition to the matters mentioned throughout these occasions.

Analysis Methodology

To check the principle speculation, the research examines high-level bilateral conferences between Iranian and Venezuelan officers between 2013 and 2020 and compares their prevalence with the imposition of U.S. sanctions towards each international locations. The paper tracks the variety of events each international locations hosted a gathering within the wake of the announcement of a U.S. sanction towards both Iran or Venezuela. As well as, it additionally retains monitor of the matters mentioned in every assembly.  The logic of this method, in accordance with the speculation that Caracas and Tehran’s anti-Americanism drives the alliance, means that hardline U.S. habits in the direction of each international locations would compel them to fulfill steadily to debate these provocations and reaffirm the connection.

This research used the Iran Venture, an internet site managed by impartial Iranian journalists to gather Iranian media information releases, to trace Iran-Venezuela conferences that occurred between 2013 to 2020. The web site comprises a search tag labelled “Iran-Venezuela Ties” that compiles all Iranian information experiences associated to the bilateral relationship.[27] This paper reviewed the entire content material inside this class, chosen any experiences that described a high-level bilateral assembly between each international locations’ officers and proceeded to search out the press releases from their unique Iranian media sources.[28] The Iran Venture constitutes probably the most appropriate supply of data for this investigation as a result of Western shops such because the New York Occasions or the Wall Road Journal sporadically cowl the Iran-Venezuela relationship. As a result of the Iran Venture experiences on matters associated to Iranian home and international coverage, the existence of an Iran-Venezuela class in its archives demonstrates its dedication to a dependable, constant supply of data on the bilateral relationship.

The vast majority of the high-level bilateral conferences comprised bodily meet ups between vital authorities officers from each international locations in both Caracas or Tehran or throughout the course of a bigger worldwide convention such because the United Nations Normal Meeting. This paper defines a “high-level assembly” as any in-person operate involving the heads of state of both nation, international ministers, chiefs of varied financial companies or industries, and different miscellaneous ministry officers. In these conferences, the officers would usually talk about common matters such because the enhancement of bilateral relations, pledges of financial cooperation, and joint denunciations of the US.

The research excludes public statements issued by authorities spokespersons or high-level officers in both nation exterior of the context of a gathering, akin to a press convention or social media put up, for 2 causes. First, the conveyance of such statements verbally or digitally with out a assembly could be a typical response by both nation to any sanction imposed by the US.[29] It’s extremely doubtless {that a} majority of sanctions from the US would already be met with crucial public statements from both nation. This research assumes {that a} public assertion exterior of a gathering is a continuing variable with no vital bearing on how the bilateral relationship may be characterised. For the second motive for these statements’ exclusion, a high-level assembly entails a substantial quantity of power and sources to arrange and wouldn’t be as frequent because the supply of a public assertion. Leaders from each international locations would journey lengthy distances to fulfill with each other, whereas preliminary working-level discussions and planning would most likely happen weeks earlier than the precise meet as much as set up an agenda, decide a location, and schedule a time. The substantial effort behind this setup implies that each international locations’ officers would worth the connection to the purpose of assembly bodily regardless of lengthy distances and worldwide strain.[30]

This research expects that a lot of the Iran-Venezuela bilateral conferences would happen inside one month of any U.S. sanction levied towards both nation, given these assumptions that the procedures to ascertain the conferences would take a big period of time. To account for extraneous variables akin to time-zone variations, logistical difficulties with assembly preparations, or delays in reporting on the conferences, the paper added a interval of 1 to a few days to this month-long interval.

As soon as the research tracked the entire doable Iran-Venezuela conferences that passed off between 2013-2020, it proceeded to search for U.S. sanctions introduced towards both nation earlier than every assembly occurred, utilizing the one-month hole to slender the search. The research regarded by sanctions timelines and experiences from sources akin to the US Institute of Peace, the Congressional Analysis Service, the U.S. State Division, and Econ Americas.[31] It recognized sanctions occurring on this seven-year interval and in contrast them towards these conferences. Examples of those parts embrace asset freezes of state corporations akin to Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), restrictions on these international locations’ main exports and imports, and sanctions concentrating on particular regime officers in each international locations, amongst others. This research largely included each main and secondary sanctions to cowl the complete spectrum of doable designations that would probably immediate an Iran-Venezuela assembly.

This paper largely excluded sanctions that focus on Iran’s numerous proxies. Whereas the Trump administration doesn’t discriminate between the actions of Iran’s proxies and people of Tehran,[32] this paper didn’t embrace anti-proxy sanctions due to the notion that some purchasers retain a point of autonomy vis-à-vis Iran.[33] Not each motion carried out by an Iranian proxy might essentially stem from a direct command from Tehran, suggesting that these purchasers possess their very own agendas when conducting actions.[34] In consequence, a possible hyperlink between an Iran Venezuela assembly and sanctions towards one in every of Iran’s proxies wouldn’t be doubtless due to an official stage of deniability between Iran and its purchasers.[35]

After researching details about all doable Iran-Venezuela conferences and U.S. sanctions between 2013-2020, the paper discovered a complete of twenty-five conferences inside this era. It then divided the entire conferences broadly between those who passed off inside one month of the imposition of a U.S. sanction and those who didn’t. For all conferences that occurred throughout the one month time-frame, it additionally tracked the principle matters mentioned by the attendees, akin to enhancement of bilateral ties, joint declarations towards the US, and financial cooperation.[36] On this means, the research hoped to search out whether or not some connection existed between the matters mentioned on the conferences and the U.S. sanctions. The complete timeline of the entire bilateral conferences, in addition to the corresponding sanctions that probably triggered those that occurred inside a month of a sanctions enactment, may be discovered within the appendix on the finish of this paper.

A better variety of conferences occurring inside one month of enactment would recommend a doable development between U.S. sanctions and the will of each international locations to fulfill bodily, probably supporting the ideological college speculation. Extra conferences centered on dialogue about joint opposition to the U.S. or augmentation of the bilateral relationship would additionally appear to lend credence to this development. The general analysis methodology primarily centered on testing the ideological college speculation, however the research additionally hoped to briefly look at whether or not a choose few financial agreements at a few of these conferences have been fulfilled. Any realization of those agreements may probably recommend the validity of the pragmatic college’s speculation.

Investigation Outcomes

The graph beneath summarizes the findings of the investigation. Determine 1 charts the variety of bilateral conferences that occurred anytime inside a month of a U.S. sanctions announcement.


Out of the twenty-five bilateral conferences that occurred between 2013 to 2020, sixteen passed off inside one month of any U.S. sanction levied towards both nation, marking 64% of all these conferences. Inside these sixteen conferences, a near-even cut up developed between all three classes (denunciation of the U.S., financial cooperation, and improve in bilateral ties). Six of those sixteen conferences broadly centered on the enhancement of bilateral ties, whereas the remaining two classes of financial cooperation and anti-U.S. declarations every constituted 5 conferences.

These findings spotlight a number of common traits on the subject of Iran-Venezuela relations. At first look, it seems that round three-fifths of the conferences within the 2013-2020 interval occurred inside a month of U.S. sanctions implementation. Whereas this proportion could seem vital, it’s primarily coincidental and correlational. Not one of the Iranian press releases report officers from both nation explicitly stating their intention to collect due to the particular U.S. sanction that occurred to happen previous to the assembly. Even throughout conferences that particularly denounced U.S. aggression, the officers current in these gatherings made these bellicose remarks regardless of a specific sanction.

For instance, on June 30, 2018, Venezuelan International Minister Jorge Arreaza met with Iranian Deputy International Minister Morteza Sarmadi in Caracas, the place Arreaza expressed sympathy for Iran’s battle with the US and pledged Venezuela’s help for Tehran towards U.S. sanctions.[37] About a number of days prior, on June 27, 2018, the US Workplace of International Property Management stripped away industrial licenses that will have permitted corporations to promote airliner tools and instruments to Iran.[38] Not less than in line with the corresponding press report, at no level throughout the July 1 assembly did Arreaza or Sarmadi point out these specific sanctions proscribing airliner exports to Iran. This situation reveals that whereas the prevalence of a gathering solely day from a specific sanction’s implementation is suspect and notable, there is no such thing as a direct causal proof to attach these two occasions. Whereas 63% of the entire out there Iran-Venezuela conferences occurred inside relative time proximity of a U.S. sanction, this development tentatively suggests a doable relationship between the enactment of a U.S. sanction and the choice for Iranian and Venezuelan leaders to fulfill bodily.

Different Evaluation: Comply with-Up Agreements          

To discover the connection additional and dive into the assumptions of the pragmatist college of thought, which assumes that Iranian and Venezuelan leaders fulfilled any financial agreements reached at a gathering on a later date, the paper chosen a number of bilateral conferences to determine the standing of agreements from these conferences. One case revolved round two conferences discovered throughout the pattern of gatherings that occurred inside one month of U.S. sanctions. On April 7, 2018, Venezuelan International Minister Jorge Arreaza and Iranian Minister of Well being Dr. Seyyed Hasan Ghazizadeh signed a memorandum of understanding through which Iran would export prescription drugs to Venezuela and assist practice Venezuelans on this area.[39] On February 23, 2019, Iran’s Meals and Drug Administration Chief Mehdi Pirsalehi introduced in a gathering with Venezuelan Deputy International Minister Ruben Dario Molina that Iran was now ready to export medication and different medical provides to Venezuela as a part of the sooner memorandum in April 2018.[40] This paper tried to search out different information releases that confirmed that these exports had begun however discovered little or no follow-up data on this matter. It may solely discover one Iranian information launch that acknowledged that the chairman of Iran’s Meals and Medication Group had verified that the nation was exporting prescription drugs to Venezuela.[41] Nevertheless, as a result of this specific information launch occurred solely two days after Pirsalehi’s unique announcement contained ambiguous language, it was unclear if these exports had really occurred.

This specific situation with the April 2018 and February 2019 conferences present that each international locations are able to following up on financial agreements and discussing points exterior of the sphere of anti-Americanism. It lends some credence to the pragmatist college of each international locations discovering mutual beneficial properties economically or materially. Nevertheless, extra research must be carried out sooner or later to extensively discover the final word outcomes of memorandums or agreements from these conferences and additional validate this speculation.

General, the findings introduced on this research don’t definitively affirm the principle assumption that U.S. sanctions essentially set off conferences between Iranian and Venezuelan leaders. Though almost 60% of those conferences coincided intently with the imposition of a U.S. sanction, this research can solely recommend this development as strictly correlational since state officers at these gatherings might not explicitly state their true intention for gathering. Extra research must be carried out to watch future Iran-Venezuela bilateral conferences and their matters of dialogue, in addition to any corresponding U.S. sanctions, with a purpose to set up clearer relationships between the variables concerned.

Conclusion: Implications for U.S. Coverage in Latin America and Past

Regardless of questions surrounding the true relationship between U.S. sanctions and Iran-Venezuela conferences, the existence of twenty-five of those occasions all through the Maduro-Rouhani period reveals that the connection remains to be comparatively energetic even past the administrations of Chávez and Ahmadinejad. The conferences’ discussions of all kinds of matters from financial cooperation to anti-U.S. sentiment recommend that each international locations discover some goal of their engagement and that there’s a foundation for the connection past management personalities.

The Iran-Venezuela relationship is a crucial one to review relative to broader U.S.-Iran competitors as a result of Iran believes that its outreach to “peripheral” states permits the nation to search out allies that share in Tehran’s anti-Americanism and again Iran economically and diplomatically in its battle with Washington.[42] Brandon Fite and Chloe Coughlin-Schulte state that Venezuela is Iran’s most ardent ally on this regard,[43] whereas Norman Bailey labels Venezuela as Iran’s “beachhead” in Latin America for Tehran to ascertain deeper financial and diplomatic ties with international locations of the area.[44]

Iran finds itself surrounded in its fast residence area by pro-U.S. adversaries akin to Israel and Saudi Arabia, which spend extra on their militaries than Tehran.[45] Moreover, round three dozen U.S. navy bases are located across the nation, including extra strain on the Islamic Republic.[46] Within the midst of Iran’s navy mismatch with its adversaries in its personal neighborhood, will probably be fascinating to look at how Iran turns to geographically distant allies like Venezuela to deal with rising diplomatic, financial, and navy strain from Washington. Such outreach implies additional Iranian entrenchment in Latin America because the Islamic Republic mockingly turns to an space throughout the conventional U.S. sphere of affect for help to counter U.S containment in Tehran’s personal geographic locale. Washington usually fears the opening offered to extraterritorial adversaries in Latin America by the decay of the rule of legislation and stability within the space.[47] In consequence, the US ought to proceed to watch the Iran-Venezuela bilateral relationship and its future trajectory for a greater understanding of Iran’s general ambitions in Latin America and its counter-sanctions technique overseas.


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[1]See “Iran and Venezuela Deepen ‘Strategic Alliance,’” BBC Information, October 21, 2010, a two-day go to to Iran, Chávez and Ahmadinejad pledged to consolidate the Iran-Venezuela “strategic alliance” and problem the U.S.-led worldwide liberal order.

[2] For extra data on Iran-Venezuela cooperation in several spheres of curiosity, see “Factbox: Venezuela’s Ties with Iran,” Reuters, January 7, 2012,

[3]BozorgmehrSharafedin, “Iran’s Mahan Air Launches Direct Flights to Venezuela,” Reuters, April 8, 2019,

[4] Antonio Maria Delgado, “Will Iran Warships in Venezuela Trigger Alarm? That is Going to Trouble Neighboring International locations,” Miami Herald, December 8, 2018,

[5]See Silvia Calderon and Mirya R. Holman, “Sharing the Identical Demons: The Venezuelan-Iranian Alliance and their Anti-U.S. Ideology,” Faurj3, no.1 (Spring 2014): 48-49. The article’s literature overview broadly outlines the 2 primary colleges of thought within the Iranian-Venezuelan relationship. This paper will use these two colleges as the idea for the hypotheses it’ll check later within the research.

[6]See Kenneth N. Waltz, Principle of Worldwide Politics (Studying, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Firm, 1979), 126-127. Waltz’s work outlines the key concepts and ideas of the neorealist college of thought in worldwide relations.

[7]Stephen M. Walt, “Alliance Formation and the Stability of World Energy,” Worldwide Safety 9, no. 4 (Spring, 1985): 8-9.

[8] Ibid., 9-12.

[9]Ibid., 13.

[10]Ibid., 15.

[11]Michael N. Barnett and Jack S. Levy, “Home Sources of Alliances and Alignments: The Case of Egypt, 1962-73,” Worldwide Group 45, no. 3 (Summer season, 1991): 373-374.

[12]Ibid., 374.

[13]Ibid., 374-376.

[14]Elodie Brun, “Iran’s Place in Venezuela’s International Coverage,” in Iran in Latin America: Risk or ‘Axis of Annoyance’?, ed. Cynthia Arnson, Haleh Esfandiari, and Adam Stubits (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Worldwide Middle for Students, 2009), 36.

[15]Ibid., 38-39.

[16] Ibid.,40.

[17]Ibid., 45.

[18]Sean Goforth, Axis of Unity: Venezuela, Iran, and the Risk to America (Lincoln, NE: College of Nebraska Press, 2012), 148-149.

[19]Luis Fleischman, Latin America within the Put up-Chávez Period: The Safety Risk to the US (Lincoln, NE: College of Nebraska Press, 2013), 114-115.

[20] Ibid., 134.

[21]Kavon Hakimzadeh, “Iran and Venezuela: The ‘Axis of Annoyance,’ Army Evaluate 89, no. 3 (Might-June 2009): 83-84.

[22] See Escudé, Carlos. Realismoperiférico: fundamentos para la nuevapolítica exterior argentina. Planeta, 1992.Escudé outlines a idea of worldwide relations referred to as Peripheral Realism, which partitions the worldwide system between three lessons: rule-makers, rule-takers, and rebels. Rule-makers are highly effective states that generate the norms and legal guidelines of the worldwide system. Rule-takers are states that conform to those precepts. Rebels are states that refuse to just accept the system established by the rule-makers and actively search to undermine it.

[23]Carmen Pereira Stallaert, “The Strategic Alliance Between Chávez and Ahmadinejad, and its Influence on Worldwide Establishments, from a Peripheral-Realist Perspective,” Portuguese Journal of Social Science 17, no. 2 (2018): 184.

[24] See Adam Taylor, “What Coronavirus? With Indictment of Venezuela’s Maduro and Sanctions on Iran, Doubles Down on ‘Most Strain,’” The Washington Put up, March 27, 2020, All through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration tightened sanctions on states akin to Iran and Venezuela regardless of criticisms of those insurance policies’ results on these international locations’ public well being responses, demonstrating the administration’s dedication to an unrelenting sanctions marketing campaign towards each international locations.

[25] See Parisa Hafezi, “Iran, Venezuela in ‘Axis of Unity’ In opposition to U.S.,” Reuters, July 2, 2007, When Chávez visited Ahmadinejad in Iran in 2007, the Venezuelan chief declared that Caracas and Tehran would collectively “defeat the imperialism of North America.” Iranian media labelled the Iran-Venezuela relationship as an “axis of unity” all through the go to. Such rhetoric could also be commonplace in bilateral conferences between each international locations within the Maduro-Rouhani period.

[26]See Iran-Venezuela Factbox article on quotation 2.

[27] “Iran-Venezuela Ties,” The Iran Venture, The Iran Venture was extremely helpful as a result of it gathered and referenced all Iranian information releases, from each state and impartial companies, relating to Iran-Venezuela conferences in a single place. The research proceeded to search for the unique information releases of their respective sources, however the Iran Venture pointed to the existence of those experiences and narrowed the seek for this data significantly.

[28]Among the unique Iranian information releases reported on the Iran Venture couldn’t be discovered due to web firewalls banning entry to those media websites or their unavailability all through the net. In these circumstances, the paper cites the report posted on the Iran Venture web site.

[29] See Farnaz Fassihi, “Iran Greets Newest U.S. Sanctions with Mockery,” The New York Occasions, June 24, 2019, and “Venezuela Denounces New US Sanctions as ‘Risk’ to World,” Al Jazeera, August 6, 2019,

Throughout a interval of intense U.S. sanctions towards Iranian oil exports, Tehran responded with scathing criticisms of those actions by way of state-controlled media and statements from authorities spokespersons. Equally, Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez criticized U.S. sanctions towards Venezuela in August 2019 as a “international risk” in her personal public assertion towards Washington.

[30]See “Trump Imposes Journey Ban on ‘Senior Iranian Officals’ and Household Members,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, September 26, 2019, Whereas the Trump administration’s journey restrictions on Iranian officers solely utilized to any hypothetical journey to the US, the symbolic gesture behind these sanctions spotlight the extreme strain that Tehran’s officers face relating to their motion overseas.

[31] Sources embrace Paz Gómez, “A Timeline of US Sanctions on the Venezuelan Regime,”Econ Americas, June 3, 2019,; Jason Starr and HeliaIghani, “Timeline of U.S. Sanctions,” United States Institute of Peace: Iran Primer, up to date September 2019,; Clare RibandoSeelke, “Venezuela: Overview of U.S. Sanctions,” Congressional Analysis Service, up to date February 21, 2020,; “Iran Sanctions,” U.S. Division of State,; “Venezuela-Associated Sanctions,” U.S. Division of State,

[32] Michael R. Pompeo, “Confronting Iran: The Trump Administration’s Technique,” International Affairs 97, no. 6 (November/December 2018): 66. Secretary of State Pompeo acknowledged that any assault by Iranian proxies on U.S. personnel or pursuits all through the Center East could be considered an act of aggression by Iran itself.

[33] Becca Wasser and Ariane Tabatabai, “Iran’s Community of Fighters within the Center East Aren’t At all times Loyal to Iran,” The Washington Put up, Might 21, 2019, The authors state that Iran’s proxies usually are not a uniform, cohesive group with unwavering allegiance to Tehran, claiming that the nation doesn’t have sweeping, tight management over all of its proxies.

[34]Ibid. The authors additionally declare that the paradox surrounding Iran’s help to its proxies prevents policymakers from figuring out whether or not a proxy-led assault was instantly mandated by Tehran or promoted by Iran.

[35]SirwanKajjo, Mehdi Jedinia, and EzeelSahinkya, “Why did Iran’s IRGC, Not its Proxies, Assault US Bases in Iraq?,” Voice of America, January 9, 2020,

[36]In a number of of those bilateral conferences, multiple matter was mentioned on the similar time. This paper sought to keep up consistency in its findings by categorizing every of those conferences by one matter. For multi-topic conferences, the research thought-about any discussions about anti-U.S. sentiment as taking highest precedence than different matters. One of many multi-topic conferences featured discussions about financial cooperation and enhancement of common bilateral ties. On this case, financial cooperation was favored above common bilateral ties because the latter is usually mentioned extensively all through a lot of the conferences.

[37] “Venezuela Hails Iran’s Struggle In opposition to US’ Hegemony,” Iran Entrance Web page Information, June 30, 2018,

[38]See Jason Starr and HeliaIghani, “Timeline of U.S. Sanctions,” United States Institute of Peace: Iran Primer, up to date September 2019,

[39] “Iran, Venezuela Ink Pharmaceutical MoU,” Mehr Information Company, April 8, 2018,

[40] “Iran Able to Export Medication, Medical Gear to Venezuela,” Mehr Information Company, February 23, 2019,

[41] “Iran Exports Medication to Venezuela,” Iran Worldwide, February 25, 2019,

[42] Brandon Fite and Chloe Couhglin-Schulte, “U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competitors: The Influence of Latin America, Africa, and the Peripheral States,” Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research, Burke Chair in Technique, July 9, 2013, 2,

[43] Ibid., 5.

[44] Norman A. Bailey, “Iran’s Venezuelan Gateway,” The American International Coverage Council, February 2012, 1,

[45] Dragan Stavljanin and Pete Baumgartner, “Persian May: How Robust is Iran’s Army?” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, January 9, 2020,–iranian-conflict/30368967.html

[46]VakkasDogantekin, “Iran Surrounded by Dozens of US Bases as Tensions Develop,” Anadolu Company, January 8, 2020,

[47]Division of Protection,United States Southern Command Technique: Enduring Promise for the Americas, Might 8, 2019, 3,               019-05-15-131647-353

Written at: Georgetown College
Written for: Professor Fabiana Perera
Date written: Might 2020

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