Chavez Arrives in Iran

A014269412.jpgVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived on a lightning visit to Iran on Monday, the latest evidence of the burgeoning ties between the two states. Chavez, who was accompanied by five ministers including the foreign, oil and industry ministers, is expected to leave Monday afternoon after several hours of talks with Iranian officials.

Chavez and Ahmadinejad will discuss issues of bilateral concern as well as regional and international developments.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini announced on Sunday that Chavez would be accompanied by five cabinet ministers, including the ministers of foreign affairs, industry, and oil.

The two sides would sign several agreements during the Venezuelan delegation’s visit.

The visit is Chavez’s fourth to Iran since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005. He last visited Iran as recently as July, laying the foundations alongside Ahmadinejad for a joint petrochemical plant.

Both Chavez and Ahmadinejad had been attending a weekend OPEC summit in Riyadh, where Chavez warned oil could hit 200 dollars a barrel if the United States attacked Iran.

Despite their cultural differences, Iran and Venezuela have in the last years forged increasingly strong ties based on their shared dislike of the United States.

Ahmadinejad last visited Venezuela in September, his third trip to the country.

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