Caracas , Venezuela, September 18, 2006 (Venezuelanalysis.com)— Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Venezuela Sunday to start a two day official visit. Venezuela’s President Chavez met him at the Caracas International Airport, where he arrived from the 14th Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Havana, and received full military honours.
Later in the day Chavez and Ahmadinejad signed over 20 cooperation agreements in the fields of oil & gas, iron & steel, and infrastructure. A bi-national fund of $2 billion was also set up with the intention of opening factories to produce tractors, cars, bikes and construction materials.
One of the agreements will involve the creation of a new joint venture between Pequiven, the Venezuelan state owned petrochemical company, and National Petrochemical Company, its Iranian counterpart. $1.5 billion will be invested in the project and the new company formed by the joint venture will be called VenIrán Petrochemical Company. The company will be based in Güiria, in the Venezuelan state of Sucre and by 2010 it will be producing 1.6 million tons of chemical products.
Earlier today Chávez and Ahmadinejad visited an oil field in the Orinico Belt, in the east of the country, where they witnessed a well being perforated. The operation was the first to be carried out between a joint venture between PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company and Petropars of Iran.
The Orinoco Oil Belt is estimated to hold 235 billion barrels of extra-heavy crude, which, if certified, would make Venezuela the country with the world’s largest oil reserves. Venezuela has invited numerous companies and countries to engage in joint ventures for the production of oil in this region.
They also signed a joint declaration where they formed common cause for a multi-polar world and more democratic multilateral institutions. The declaration was in reference to the United Nations, where Venezuela is campaigning for a seat as a non-permanent member of the Security Council and where Iran is lobbying for the right to develop nuclear programs it claims are for peaceful means.
“We have thoughts, objectives, and interests in common and we must be united to be able to make these ideas reality with the aim of achieving justice and peace,” said Ahmadinejad.
Chavez said Iran and Venezuela were two revolutionary nations that were helping each other. He also said that the visit of Ahmadinejad would strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries.
Both leaders are heading to New York shortly for the meeting of the General Assembly of the UN. Iran supports Venezuela’s campaign for a Security Council seat and Chávez publicly supported Iran’s right to develop its nuclear program and pointed to other countries that certainly did use nuclear materials for making weapons. “Iran is not making an atomic bomb, the ones that have many atomic bombs, and I repeat, many, are precisely the U.S. imperialists and their allies in the world,” he said. The Security Council seat would give Venezuela a platform from which to oppose UN sanctions on Iran.
The leader of the Confederation of Israeli Associations of Venezuela, Freddy Pressner, expressed his serious reservations about the visit of the Iranian president to the country. He said the Jewish community felt “indignant” about it, “We can’t be happy or satisfied with the presence of someone who has said publicly that one of the solutions is the destruction of the state of Israel.”
Venezuela and Iran have a long-standing relationship due to both being major oil exporting countries and key members of OPEC.
See also: Venezuela – Iran’s Best Friend?