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Updated: October 19, 2010 19:37 IST

Chavez stresses closer ties with Tehran

DPA
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, right, gestures, as he shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his official welcoming ceremony, in Tehran on Tuesday. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is holding talks with Iranian leaders expected to focus on boosting cooperation between the countries' oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
AP Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, right, gestures, as he shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his official welcoming ceremony, in Tehran on Tuesday. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is holding talks with Iranian leaders expected to focus on boosting cooperation between the countries' oil, gas and petrochemical industries.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday said cooperation with Iran was a “holy task” for Venezuela, Fars news agency reported.

Chavez arrived in Tehran on Monday night for talks on regional and international issues and to follow up on the 186 agreements that Iran and Venezuela have signed in the last five years.

“The expansion of cooperation with Iran is a holy task for Venezuela and will be pursued with seriousness,” Mr Chavez was quoted as saying after meeting with Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.

“Independent countries like Iran and Venezuela have suitable potentials and if they use these potentials, then it will considerably increase our power against imperialism,” Mr Chavez said.

“Our ties with Iran are solid and brotherly and Venezuela will stand besides the great nation of Iran under any circumstances,” he added.

Mr Ahmadinejad said after the meeting that “Independent nations could still change the world order to their benefit through unity and strength.”

“Iran for example has despite all pressures by world powers maintained its suitable status and even increased its influence in the region,” the Iranian President said, in reference to international sanctions against Tehran over its controversial nuclear projects.

According to the ISNA news agency, Mr Chavez is scheduled to visit the religious city of Qom, 130 kilometres south of the capital Tehran, to meet Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It was the ninth visit to Iran by Mr Chavez, who has often described the Islamic country as his “second home.” While bilateral trade is valued at $ 4.6 billion, economic and trade agreements with countries like Venezuela are not considered to have any major impact on Iran’s economy.

Mr Chavez has consistently supported Iran’s controversial nuclear projects, and has found common ground with Mr Ahmadinejad over his criticism of the United States. Both presidents have on several occasions called for a new world order and reform of the United Nations Security Council.

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