Iran and Venezuela expand oil ties amid U.S. sanctions

STORY: Defying U.S. pressures, Iran has sent several cargos of fuel to Venezuela and helped in refinery repairs. Last month, Venezuela began importing Iranian heavy crude, widening a swap agreement signed last year to exchange Iranian condensate for Venezuelan heavy crude.

Maduro arrived in Tehran on Friday with a high-ranking political and economic delegation after visiting Turkey and Algeria.

During the visit, Iran delivered to Venezuela the second of four Aframax-sized oil tankers, with a capacity of 800,000 barrels, ordered from the Iranian company SADRA, state media said. SADRA has been under U.S. sanctions for more than a decade over its links to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

In May, Iran's state-owned National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Co signed a contract worth about 110 million euros to repair Venezuela's smaller 146,000 barrel-per-day refinery.

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