Sunday, September 10, 2006

Iran's President to visit Venezuela next week

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to hold talks next week in Venezuela, one of the Islamic republic's closest allies, the official news agency IRNA reported.

The president will sign "many bilateral cooperation agreements" after arriving in Caracas following the two-day summit meeting of Non-Aligned Movement leaders which he is attending from Thursday in Cuba.

Venezualan President Hugo Chavez shares Ahmadinejad's strong enmity towards the United States as well as Israel and has vowed to break diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, AFP noted.

On a visit to Tehran in late July, his fourth since 2000, Chavez told cheering students that "we should unite and save humanity and get rid of the American empire."

Chavez has also backed Iran's controversial nuclear programme and Tehran's right to enrich uranium, saying that Caracas will stand by its fellow OPEC member in all circumstances.

Iran rejects US allegations that it is seeking nuclear weapons but its only unequivocal backers at the UN atomic watchdog apart from Venezuela have been Cuba and Syria.

Ahmadinejad's trip to Havana and Caracas will be his first to Latin America since taking office last year, IRNA said. READ MORE