Chavez in Iran for talks to expand oil, gas cooperation

Venezuelan president's meeting with Ahmadinejad follows news of Russian deal to help the S. American country build nuclear power plant.

Chavez getting out of car (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Chavez getting out of car
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has arrived in Teheran for talks with Iranian leaders expected to focus on efforts to boost cooperation between the allies' oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
Iranian state television says Chavez was greeted by Industry Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian at Teheran's Mehrabad airport upon arrival early Tuesday morning.
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Chavez will reportedly hold talks with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his two-day visit. The Venezuelan leader backed Iran in its confrontation with the West over Teheran's disputed nuclear program.
Last year, Ahmadinejad visited Latin America and met with Chavez there.
"We feel at home here and among our brothers ... we're going to be together until the end," Ahmadinejad said at the time, as both leaders roundly denounced US "imperialism," and Chavez also called Israel "a murderous arm of the Yankee empire."
Last week, it was reported that Russia had agreed to help construct Venezuela's first nuclear power plant and purchase $1.6 billion worth of oil assets.
According to Reuters, Chavez was present at the deal which took place at a Kremlin ceremony with Russia President Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev declared that Russia shares a "strategic partnership" and US influence-free world vision.
"Both Russia and Venezuela favor the development of a modern and just world order -- a world order in which our future does not depend on the will or desire of any one country, its well-being or its mood," Medvedev said.
After Medvedev spoke, Russian nuclear agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro signed a deal on "the construction and use of an atomic power station on the territory of Venezuela."