By Mohammad Mazhari

Iran's military power not a threat to other nations: Venezuelan ambassador

February 1, 2021 - 12:56

TEHRAN – Pointing to Iran's technological and scientific advances over the last 42 years, the Venezuelan ambassador to Tehran says that “Iran's military power is not a threat to other nations.”

“We are aware of Iran's technological and scientific advances during the last 42 years,” Carlos Antonio Alcala Cordones tells the Tehran Times.

“In the defense sector, Iran has become self-sufficient in the production of basic military equipment and systems thanks to the Islamic Revolution,” the Venezuelan diplomat notes. “We know that Iran's military power is not a threat to other nations, but is based on the doctrine of deterrence.”

The following is the text of the interview:

Q: What were the messages of sending fuel ships to Venezuela by Iran? How do you assess the reaction of the United States to this move?

A: Undoubtedly, one of the most significant measures taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2020 was to send fuel ships to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

This courageous move, in accordance with international norms, sends a categorical message to the United States and the world that both Iran and Venezuela are defending their right to conduct free foreign trade and diplomatic relations.

The move is also a challenge to policies designed by the White House that seeks to destabilize independent states through unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions.

 This is a fair act and should therefore be recognized by the international community. It also demonstrates the strength of bilateral economic cooperation and trade relations between the two countries, which promises a new era of exchange and response to unilateral actions by the United States.

Q: Iran has stated that it will continue fuel shipment to Venezuela. What challenges may Iran face in this respect?

A: The powerful foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been one of the most effective weapons the country possesses to counter any irrational U.S. sanctions. 

The policy of fuel shipment to Venezuela means that there are various mechanisms to protect the interests of countries.

President Maduro passed a bill on October 8 under the title of "counteract and mitigate the effects of unilateral and coercive measures taken by other countries," mostly by the United States. According to the text of the bill, it gives the executive authority to "reform the constitutional mechanisms, management, administration and operation of state-owned companies, both in the national territory and abroad."

Q: In addition to fuel shipment, what are the other aspects of Tehran-Caracas cooperation?

A: Cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is very extensive. Nearly 70 years have passed since the diplomatic relations between the two countries started, and today we can say that these relations have reached a strategic stage.

Collaboration in the field of energy and trade is at the highest level and we have also exchanged experiences in various topics including technical, educational, cultural, housing, aerospace, industrial and especially health fields due to the spread of coronavirus.

The field of security and defense is also an important exchange channel, which we are following with high motivation, and we will soon hold the ninth joint commission between the two countries. This cooperation, which is based on trust and solidarity between the two countries, shows a strong relationship.

Q: What happened to ships seized by the U.S. under the pretext of carrying fuel for Venezuela?

A: As Venezuelan and Iranian officials said at the time, the move was part of a U.S. lie and psychological warfare. These ships were not Iranian and their flag had nothing to do with Iran. Under these circumstances, the U.S. government's efforts to increase economic pressure on Iran and Venezuela did not yield the results they intended. 

The only thing that stood out was the U.S. defeat at the UN Security Council in extending the arms embargo against Iran.

In the tumult of lies and threats broadcast by imperialism, it is possible to find out independently who owns the seized ships. The world is witnessing a government that acts rudely in encroaching on and seizing the property and assets of other countries. This is what the United States has shown so far.

Q: What options does Venezuela have to deal with U.S. piracy?

A: If the Americans disturb Iranian tankers heading to Venezuela, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, like the Islamic Republic of Iran, has all the options on the table to respond.

 At the same time, all our options and answers are in accordance with the Law on Maritime Freedoms. We are committed to protecting navigation against any infringement in open international waters, as well as the piracy of the United States, which has a long history of such acts.

The first shipment of five fuel tankers to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under White House threats carries many messages. They plunder the natural wealth of independent countries not only by trying to subjugate free nations and by using criminal sanctions, but also by stealing countries' funds in foreign banks and freezing assets. Remember how they stole a consignment of medical equipment from one of their allies. As I mentioned before, we now have a counter-sanctions law that allows us to take any legal action or negotiate in this regard.

Q: Is Venezuela going to form a defense alliance with friendly countries to counter U.S. interventions?

A: The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela enshrines the inalienable rights of every nation, including independence, freedom, sovereignty, and self-determination. 

We also have the right to defend ourselves against those who threaten our land. According to human rights law and international conventions, we are free to form alliances with countries that respect the sovereignty of other countries. Creating a defensive platform in our country is a right that cannot be ignored. It is not difficult to know which countries are supporting Venezuela in critical moments.

The geopolitical map of the region is also changing in the wake of the recent elections in Bolivia, which returned the line of constitution and democracy to a friendly and brotherly country.

It should also be noted that on December 6, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will hold its parliamentary elections and will continue the path of democracy with power.

Cooperation in the security and defense sector between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is important to us. We are aware of Iran's technological and scientific advances over the last 42 years. In the defense sector, Iran has become self-sufficient in the production of basic military equipment and systems thanks to the Islamic Revolution. We know that Iran's military power is not a threat to other nations, but is based on the doctrine of deterrence.

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