Venezuela and Iran have maintained steady diplomatic relations since the late Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999. Iran, an Islamic theocracy, and Venezuela, a far-left socialist regime, have close political, economic, and security ties, despite their obvious religious and political differences. Both countries have adopted the ideological narrative that the U.S. threatens their national identity, resources, security, general well-being, and, in the case of Iran, the Islamic faith. They defend each other’s interests on the international stage and they have deepened their engagement in various sectors, including in the economy, internal security, defense, intelligence, and nuclear sectors.

This resource, “Iran and Venezuela: Axis of Anti-Americanism,” examines the relationship, providing historical background on bilateral diplomatic relations, starting with Chávez’s first trip to Tehran as head of state in 2000. It also identifies several features of Venezuela’s economic and political system that render it vulnerable to Iranian influence and exploitation. It examines the roles of Iran-sponsored Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Venezuela. The final section explores the differences in approach taken by the past three U.S. administrations to this developing alliance and concludes with a list of recommendations for U.S. policymakers.