tehran, iran - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is set to take off this weekend for a tour to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, state media reported Wednesday.
Raisi's tour of 'friendly countries' begins Sunday and aims to raise Iran's 'level of economic, political and scientific cooperation' with the three U.S.-sanctioned Latin American nations, the IRNA state news agency said.
Iran and Venezuela are both major producers in the OPEC oil cartel, placing them at the center of international discussions on the energy crisis sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited Iran in June 2022, signing a 20-year pact to open 'major fronts' for cooperation in the oil, petrochemicals and defense sectors.
In February, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian underlined the alliance between the countries when he visited Caracas.
The United States has since eased its embargo on Venezuelan crude, while France has called for allowing diversification of energy sources, including from Caracas.
The United States has accused Iran of circumventing sanctions by exporting crude to countries including Venezuela, while also helping the oil-rich Latin American country to rebuild its energy infrastructure.
The last Iranian president to visit Cuba and Venezuela was Hassan Rouhani in September 2016. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the last presidential visit to Nicaragua in 2007.