[Marxism] Iranian leader calls Chavez a 'trench mate'

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 30 14:37:35 MDT 2006


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AP via Yahoo - Jul 30, 2006
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060730/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_venezuela


Iranian leader calls Chavez a 'trench mate'

By NASSER KARIMI
Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran - The presidents of Iran and Venezuela, leading U.S. critics,
pledged Saturday to support one another in disputes with Washington, with
the Iranian calling Hugo Chavez "a brother and trench mate."

As Chavez arrived for a two-day visit. Iran faced renewed international
criticism for its nuclear program and for backing Hezbollah guerrillas in
its war with Israel.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council on Friday reached a
deal on a resolution that would give Iran until the end of August to suspend
uranium enrichment or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.
Iranian state radio said Saturday the government would reject the proposed
resolution.

Chavez pledged that his country would "stay by Iran at any time and under
any condition."

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, said he saw in the Venezuelan
president a kindred spirit. "I feel I have met a brother and trench mate
after meeting Chavez," the state-run Iranian television quoted Ahmedinejad.

Chavez, who peppers his speeches with mentions of assassination plots and
purported U.S. efforts to oust him, said he admired the Iranian president
for "his wisdom and strength."

He invited Iranian oil companies to invest in Venezuela. Venezuelan state
TV also reported that the countries are considering having Iran participate
in a natural gas project off the Venezuelan coast. The two nations are
members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- Iran is the
world's No. 2 oil exporter and Venezuela No. 5.

"We are with you and with Iran forever. As long as we remain united we will
be able to defeat (U.S.) imperialism, but if we are divided they will push
us aside," Chavez said.

Since taking office in 1999, Chavez has emerged as one of Latin America's
most outspoken critics of U.S. foreign policy. He takes his message against
what he calls President Bush's "imperialist" government everywhere he goes.

During his trip, Chavez is to meet Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, Iranian state television said.

"We do not have any limitation in cooperation," Ahmedinejad was quoted as
saying. "Iran and Venezuela are next to each other and supporters of each
other. Chavez is a source of a progressive and revolutionary current in
South America and his stance in restricting imperialism is tangible."

The Venezuelan leader has been on a trip that included a visit to Belarus,
where he met with authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, who is
dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by Washington and shares Chavez's strong
anti-U.S. views.

Earlier this week he secured an arms agreement with Russia that prompted
U.S. criticism.

Chavez boasted in Moscow on Thursday that Russia had helped his country
break a U.S.-imposed "blockade" by agreeing to sell fighter planes and
helicopters worth billions of dollars to Venezuela.

Chavez is also hoping to set up Kalashnikov weapons plants and ammunition
plants in Venezuela under Russian license.

During his visit to Qatar, which began Friday, Chavez said Venezuela could
eventually export guns and ammunition to Bolivia and other allies once
these plants were built.

Chavez accused the United States of "threatening" to stop supplying
replacement parts for the weapons to leftist Bolivian President Evo
Morales' government. If the U.S. follows through, Chavez said, "we could
supply Bolivia... and other friendly countries that also require a minimal
level of defense."

"Maybe in the future we'll become an (arms) exporting country," Chavez
said.

Bilateral trade last year between Iran and Venezuela amounted to $1
billion. Iranian investment in Venezuela includes a production line for
tractors and several housing projects.

During his visit, Chavez was to inaugurate the new Venezuelan embassy in
Tehran and meet Iranian business leaders. He was also to tour Iran-Khodro,
Iran's giant public sector automobile manufacturer. The leaders and top
officials were expected to sign memorandums of understanding in various
fields.

[Associated Press Writer Jorge Rueda contributed to this report from
Caracas, Venezuela.]

Copyright C 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

       
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