AFP: Venezuela’s firebrand President Hugo Chavez is in Iran to hold bilateral talks with senior Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the English-language Press TV reported Tuesday.
TEHRAN (AFP) — Venezuela’s firebrand President Hugo Chavez is in Iran to hold bilateral talks with senior Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the English-language Press TV reported Tuesday.
It said Chavez arrived in Tehran late Monday for his ninth visit to the Islamic republic. He was welcomed by Iran’s Industry Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian.
His visit to Iran is part of a major international tour aimed at strengthening trade ties with several countries in eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Chavez has been trying to bolster his international standing as he continues to spar openly with the United States.
Long a thorn in the side of Washington, Chavez has challenged Washington’s hegemony in the region and around the world, including publicly backing Iran’s right to a nuclear programme, which the United States strongly opposes.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, another US nemesis, last November visited Venezuela in what was seen as part of a continuing challenge to the United States.
Press TV on its website said Chavez and Iranian officials would in their talks focus on expanding cooperation in the energy sector, particularly oil, gas, and in the petrochemical sector.
It said they would in particular discuss the establishment of a joint oil shipping company, the joint construction of petrochemical units and Venezuela’s participation in Iran’s South Pars gas field project, all outlined in memoranda of understanding the two countries signed last year.
Over the past five years, Iran and Venezuela have signed a number of memoranda of understanding and contracts for joint participation and investments in oil and gas projects, the website added.