EghtesadOnline: The United States is adopting hostile policies toward both Iran and Venezuela but the model it is using for the Latin American country is not applicable to Tehran, given the economic, geopolitical and domestic structural differences between the two oil-rich countries, an analyst said.
Washington has designed a set of sanctions against the Venezuelan government with the aim of ousting socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
US President Donald Trump has barred US customers from paying for Venezuelan oil until a new government led by opposition leader Juan Guaido, the nation’s congress head, could be established.
He has taken similar strict measures against Tehran after pulling his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal, arguing that the agreement was defective and that issues concerning Iran’s ballistic missile programs and regional activities need to be included in a renegotiated deal, according to Financial Tribune.
Trump has reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil and banking sectors, and threatened other countries with penalties in case of continuing business with Iran.
Some national and foreign experts have compared Iran to Venezuela, predicting the same fate for the country.
However, Amirali Abolfath, an American affairs analyst, has described it as a “false analogy”, given the fundamental differences between the two states.
“There is no possibility for the US to apply a model like that of Venezuela to Iran, even in case of Maduro’s downfall,” he said in a recent interview with the Iranian Diplomacy website.
The analyst pointed to economic conditions as a main factor that makes Tehran different from Caracas.
“Venezuela’s economy is on the verge of complete collapse and the unbelievably raging inflation has prepared the ground for new [undesirable] developments,” he said.
This is while, despite American sanctions, Iran’s inflation rate has only reached 40-50% in the most pessimistic statistics, he added.
According to Abolfath, it seems that Iran has managed the situation much more efficiently than Venezuela, although there are serious economic problems that have drawn widespread criticism.
“In addition, after the Islamic Revolution, Iran significantly limited its economic relations with the US at first, and the international network, especially the western bloc, as the second step,” he said.
This, he explained, has immunized the country’s economy to the outside influence and made it self-sufficient in a way, reducing its dependence on and vulnerability to other countries.
Venezuela, on the other hand, highly depends on the US as its major oil client, which is why its economy has gone into a deep recession as a result of the American sanctions, he added.
Besides, there is a strong distinction between the media and political structure of the two countries, the analyst said.
According to Abolfath, the scope of media authority and the considerable executive power of the opposition group have paved the way for a rebellion against the Venezuelan government led by Juan Guaido who is pushing US policies in that country.
This is while “during the most critical political period [in Iran] when domestic disputes had escalated, the opponents and opposition leaders never acted like the Venezuelan political groups [who have sought to topple the sitting government],” he said.
Iran and Venezuela have vast geopolitical differences as well.
“Latin America is traditionally considered the United States’ backyard, away from [the influence of] China, Russia, Turkey and Iran, whereas the [geopolitical] structure of the Middle East and its proximity to Russia and China make West Asia different from South America,” he said.
Russia and China are key political players on the global stage and have both backed Iran against the US in the case of the nuclear deal.