Caracas, Venezuela, June 14, 2006—The Iranian Vice-Ministerof Light Industry, Mohsen Shaterzadeh, announced thisweek that the Islamic Republic of Iran is planning to invest more than $9billion in 125 development projects in Venezuela as part of bilateralcooperation agreements between the two countries.
Shaterzadeh declared that they hadalready signed contracts worth over a billion dollars, to build 2,500 homes andthe Cerro Azul Cement Factory, in the Punceres Municipality in the Venezuelanstate of Monagas.
Shaterzadeh made the declarationson his visit to Cerro Azul, where Cerro Azul Cements President Rafael Lugoexplained that they have high expectations for the employment the factory willbe able to generate.
“In the construction phase we willemploy 350 direct workers, while the number of indirect workers will be arounda thousand. Once in operation, the plantwill have a capacity of employing on the order of 200 people directly and willgive work indirectly to another 600 people,” he said.
Shaterzadeh added that futureagreements are being proposed in the areas of infrastructure and productivetechnology with raw material imported from Iran. The Iranian ambassador to Venezuela, AhmadSobhani, who accompanied Shaterzadeh in Monagas also stated that Iran isstudying a project whereby tractors and other vehicles can be sent toVenezuela. Both nations created a jointdevelopment fund last February worth $200 million.
The Syrian Vice-Foreign Minister,Faisal Megdad, was also in Venezuelathis past week. On Monday, Megdad metwith Venezuela Vice President José Vicente Rangel, whom he told that Syriawould support and promote Venezuela in its bid for a seat on the UN SecurityCouncil.
"There are many countries inthe world that support Venezuela in its bid to join the United Nations SecurityCouncil. In Asia And Africa there is huge support for the VenezuelanGovernment, particularly in Arab countries," the diplomat said.
Five of the Security Council’s tenrotating seats are up this year and one is traditionally reserved for a LatinAmerican country. Venezuela’s largest competitor for the seat is Guatemala, which has never sat on the councilbefore and which is being supported by the U.S.
According to Union Radio, Megdad also proposed strengthening social and economicrelations between Venezuela and Syria.
“Syria is well known in grainproduction, in cotton and derivatives, olive oil processing, cloth productionin general, with which we compete with many countries of the world, we couldalso maintain a petroleum and petrol-chemical exchange, which we hope tomaterialize in future meetings.” Megdad said.
Venezuela, Syria and Cuba where the only threecountries to support Iran in last February’s vote before the InternationalAtomic Energy Agency to report Iran to the UN Security Council for its nuclearaspirations. Venezuelahas held that any country has the right to conduct it’s own civilian nuclearenergy program for peaceful means.