US lawmakers alarmed by Chavez's plan for nuclear energy program

Two Florida congressmen said Friday that Washington should be alarmed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's plans to develop a nuclear energy program while building close ties with Iran. US Reps. Connie Mack and Ron Klein said in a statement they are concerned Iran has been "an eager partner" willing to help Venezuela develop a nuclear program. In an interview Thursday with France 24 television, Chavez reiterated his interest in nuclear energy for peaceful uses and defended Iran's nuclear research. The US alleges that Teheran is pursuing nuclear weapons. "Iran is developing its nuclear energy for peaceful ends, I'm sure of it," Chavez said. "In the same way, Venezuela is also going to start developing nuclear energy."