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Iranian carmaker Saipa prepares first export to Venezuela

Cooperation between Iran and Venezuela now goes beyond oil. 
Cars are seen driving past a sales office of Iranian auto manufacturer Saipa group, Tehran, Iran, Sept. 12, 2015.

The Iranian automobile manufacturer Saipa will soon export vehicles to Venezuela. 

Saipa sent yesterday about 1,000 cars to southern Iran, and from there they will be exported to Venezuela — presumably by boat. The company held a ceremony at its headquarters in Tehran to mark the occasion of its first export to the South American country. Venezuelan Transport Minister Ramon Blazquez attended the event, according to an article on the website of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce. 

Why it matters: The move represents increasing cooperation between Iran and Venezuela. Both countries are heavily sanctioned by the United States, and this has brought them closer. Iran regularly sends oil to crisis-stricken Venezuela, and has also loaded Venezuelan oil for sale abroad. Venezuela is rich in oil, but its refinery industry has crumbled. 

The relationship appears to be developing beyond energy. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited Iran in June during his trip to the region. One purpose of the visit was to encourage Iranian tourism to Venezuela. 

Relatedly, Venezuela announced in February the start of direct flights between Tehran and Caracas. The flights now appear on the website of Venezuela's national airline Conviasa

Know more: Blazquez added that around 80,000 orders for Saipa cars have been placed in Venezuela. 

In October, Saipa and the Venezuelan government signed a cooperation agreement regarding the production of vehicles in Venezuela. 

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