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Nicaragua signs historic agreements with Iran, discusses bartering to evade illegal US sanctions

Pledging anti-imperialist unity, Nicaragua’s Sandinista government signed economic agreements with Iran concerning oil, agriculture, trade, and technology. They discussed bartering to get around illegal US sanctions.

Nicaragua Iran agreements oil trade
Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega signs economic agreements with Iran in Managua on May 6, 2022

The Sandinista government of Nicaragua has signed a series of historic agreements with Iran, concerning oil, agriculture, trade, and technology.

The two countries also discussed ways to barter in order to exchange products without the need of the US-dominated financial system, thus circumventing Washington’s unilateral sanctions, which are illegal under international law.

A high-level Iranian delegation arrived to Nicaragua on May 4, led by the West Asian nation’s minister of petroleum, Javad Owji.

On May 6, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo signed three memoranda of understanding with Iran.

President Ortega said the agreements involved trade, oil and petroleum products, petrochemicals, agriculture, livestock, construction and modernization, technology transfers, and engineering.

Ortega added that Tehran is helping Nicaragua boost its agriculture production, and there are plans to export food to Iran and other countries in West Asia.

Nicaragua Iran Ortega petroleum minister

Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega with Iran’s Petroleum Minister Javad Owji

Iran already cooperates closely with Venezuela, and Tehran’s petroleum minister, Owji, called for strengthening the collaboration between Iran, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Ortega condemned the US “persecution, blockade, siege, threats against” all three countries.

Highlighting “the great potential that Nicaragua has,” Owji said, “we can unite forces to neutralize the unjust sanctions that have been applied against both of our peoples.”

Nicaragua’s Sandinista government praised the people of Iran for resisting imperialism, referring to the nations’ two revolutions as “brotherly revolutions,” noting they both took place just a few months apart in the same year, 1979.

In his meeting with the senior Iranian officials, Ortega recounted the history of European and US colonialism in Nicaragua, noting how foreign imperialists long tried to build a canal through the Central American country, and now seek to prevent the Sandinista government from building its own sovereign canal.

Ortega thanked Iran for its solidarity with “a country like Nicaragua, a small people in its territory, which has been invaded since the Spanish colonizers to the yankee expansionists.”

“These are the times in which our peoples maintain that historical thread” with anti-imperialist revolutionaries like Augusto Sandino, Ortega said, with “that principle of defending sovereignty, self-determination, and security for the peace and well-being of our peoples.”

The meeting featured an Iranian diplomat responsible for bartering and obtaining basic products. Upon introducing him, Ortega commented, “Bartering was how our First Nations here in all of the regions of America, Latin America and the Caribbean, our First Nations, before the colonialists, the imperialists, the invaders arrived, their form of trade was bartering.”

Ortega said bartering was ideal because “on occasions there are no other options but to exchange resources for products, because there are blockades, sanctions, which are nothing more than aggression by the empire, and by NATO, which is part of the empire, which is blocking financial operations.”

“So an alternative that our peoples have, when they blockade us, and we cannot transfer the payment for a product that we would like to bring from Iran, well, we could pay for it with products that Iran is interested in that we produce here,” the Nicaraguan president added.

As part of the signed agreements, Iran will also provide technical support to expand Nicaragua’s refinery.

Nicaragua is not known to have sizeable hydrocarbons reserves. It does have a refinery on the Pacific coast, near Puerto Sandino – Port Sandino.

This Nicaraguan refinery was built by Venezuelan specialists in an act of solidarity between the two nations, as part of President Hugo Chávez’s Petrocaribe program.

Nicaragua’s refinery is called El Supremo Sueño de Bolívar – The Supreme Dream of Bolívar, dedicated to the 19th-century Venezuelan revolutionary who led a successful armed uprising against Spanish colonialism and united large parts of South America in an anti-imperialist republic.

The term Supreme Dream of Bolívar is a reference to a 1929 plan proposed by Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto Sandino, who led a guerrilla war against US troops that were militarily occupying his country.

Nicaragua’s Sandinista movement is named after Sandino, who in the early 20th century called for Latin America to unite and expel the new US colonialists, just as they had expelled the previous Spanish colonialists.

refinery Nicaragua sueno Bolivar

Part of Nicaragua’s refinery, El Supremo Sueño de Bolívar (The Supreme Dream of Bolívar)

While visiting Nicaragua, the Iranian delegation met with the Central American nation’s Ministry of Energy and Mines and traveled to the refinery.

The coordinator of the refinery, Marco Centeno, said “the capacity of the plant is to store and distribute [oil] to the Nicaraguan market.”

Iran pledged to help grow the operations of the refinery, while strengthening economic ties between the two countries.

The agreements signed between Iran and Nicaragua follow a historic 25-year pact that Iran signed with China in 2021. As part of this deal, which has been estimated at $400 billion, Tehran will provide Beijing with oil and other resources and China will help develop infrastructure and technology in Iran.

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