Envoy calls report on shipping gold bars from Venezuela to Iran ‘baseless’

May 11, 2020 - 16:33

TEHRAN — The Iranian ambassador to Caracas has rejected a recent report claiming shipping nine tons of gold bars from Venezuela to Iran as a “big lie” and a “baseless rumor”.

“Iran has never received such a consignment,” Soltani said, adding “Venezuela has not imported Iran’s gasoline, either.”

He rejected all the news claiming that Venezuela is raiding its gold vaults and handing tons of bars to Iran through recent Mahan Air flights.

The ambassador also rejected the presence of Iranian experts in Venezuelan refineries. 

“To the present date, Iranian gasoline has not entered Venezuela. To date, the governments of the two countries have held talks on bilateral trade cooperation, but so far Iranian fuel has not entered Venezuela,” he reiterated.

“In recent days, an average of 10 to 17 commercial flights have been made from Iran to Venezuela, for the immediate transfer of equipment needed to reactivate the Paraguaná Refinery Complex, which is now a priority in achieving comprehensive relations between our countries,” he added.

Some reports claimed that Venezuelan government officials piled some 9 tons of gold – an amount equal to about $500 million – on Tehran-bound jets in April as payment for Iran’s assistance in reviving Venezuela’s gasoline refineries. They said the shipments, which resulted in a sudden drop in Venezuela’s published foreign reserve figures, leave the country with just $6.3 billion in hard-currency assets, the lowest amount in three decades.

Soltani also referred to the Iran-Venezuela cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus, saying, “The Iranian government’s cooperation with the Venezuelan people has expanded in times of crisis, and our relations, especially in the area of trade cooperation, are stronger than ever. We are here to help the people of Venezuela.”