Tehran, Caracas set to expand ties: FMs

Photo: Tehran, Caracas set to expand ties: FMs / Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has expressed satisfaction about the rising level of economic and political interactions between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Venezuela, PRESS TV reported.

Salehi made the remarks during a meeting with visiting Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro in Tehran on Friday.

The Iranian foreign minister officially welcomed his Venezuelan counterpart late on Friday, IRNA reported.In light of the significant rise in the level of trade between Tehran and Caracas, bilateral ties should be strengthened in all areas, particularly in the industrial sector and the transfer of technological expertise, Salehi stated.

He went on to say that the two countries are regional powers that play important roles in the Middle East and Latin America.

Maduro also expressed satisfaction about the expansion of relations between Iran and Venezuela and said Caracas is keen to raise their cooperation to another level.

Commenting on the uprisings sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East, Salehi denounced the West's double-standard policy toward the incidents taking place in Libya and Bahrain, noting that the Western countries are taking action against the Libyan regime but have remained silent about Bahrain's crackdown on protesters.

The Venezuelan foreign minister concurred and noted that the West is pursuing such policies in order to take control of the vast oil reserves of those countries.

In recent years, Iran and Venezuela, which are both members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, have signed several agreements for joint participation and investment in oil and gas projects.

However, the United States views Iran's relationship with Venezuela as a threat to its national security interests.

Earlier in April, General Douglas Fraser, the head of the US Southern Command, expressed concern over the enhancement of relations between Iran and Latin American countries, saying that Tehran has expanded its ties in Latin America beyond its close relationship with Venezuela.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expanded Iran's cooperation with many Latin American states since he took office in 2005.

The promotion of comprehensive cooperation with Latin American countries is now one of the top foreign policy priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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