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Iran Helps Nicaragua ‘Neutralize’ Effects of US Sanctions

Iran Helps Nicaragua ‘Neutralize’ Effects of US Sanctions

Sunday, 8 May, 2022 - 07:15
An Iranian woman walks in a market in Tehran, Iran May 1, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Iran has pledged to supply Nicaragua with fuel, participate in oil exploration and consider investing in a refinery to “neutralize the effects of US and European sanctions and encroachments.”

These sanctions target dozens of public sector officials and figures close to Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega who face charges related to corruption and human rights violations.

This came at the end of a visit by an Iranian government delegation, led by Oil Minister Javad Owji.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure the delivery of fuel to Nicaragua,” AFP quoted a Spanish translation of Owji’s statements during a live-streamed ceremony.

Nicaragua imports fuel from its ally Venezuela, which is currently experiencing an economic and social crisis. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which led to the surge in global oil prices, has exacerbated the situation in the country, in light of US sanctions that make some of its transactions more difficult.

Ortega said discussions tackled key issues related to oil. “Petrochemical and oil projects were proposed, as well as improving and modernizing refineries and developing production in oil and gas fields.”

The two governments signed an agreement to develop oil exchanges and a contract to provide oil-derived products, without specifying its value.

Owji said the projects include the possibility of investing in a refinery in the “Bolivar’s Supreme Dream” industrial complex, which was launched by Ortega’s government in 2007 and includes a Venezuelan investment. The project’s implementation has stopped due to economic challenges in Caracas.

The minister expressed hope to continue the project’s implementation through an Iranian-Nicaraguan-Venezuelan joint investment.

Nicaragua’s government said the complex includes a fuel storage and distribution facility, which was completed with a $432 million-worth investment.

The project’s second phase requires an investment of more than $3.6 billion to construct a refinery.

Washington and Brussels have been calling for the release of more than 40 opposition figures, including seven former presidential candidates who were arrested before the November 2021 elections, in which Ortega won a fourth consecutive term.

Venezuela and Iran bolstered their ties after Washington imposed sanctions on their oil exports and against several government officials from both countries.

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