Chavez: Europe mustn't back US on Iran

Venezuelan president says Iranians will "be willing to withstand an attack by the US and counterattack."

Chavez Sarkozy 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Chavez Sarkozy 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday urged Europe not to side with the United States over Iran's nuclear program, dismissing as a "big lie" US concerns that Teheran is trying to develop an atomic bomb. Chavez, a leftist firebrand who was in Iran on Monday and has compared US President George W. Bush to the devil, said the accusations against Iran were part of a US plot to take over Iran's oil fields. "I'm sure it's just another excuse, another invention, another big lie by the imperialist government of the United States to justify any aggression against the Iranian people," Chavez told reporters at a news conference in Paris. "Europe should not, in my opinion, follow this path." Chavez spoke after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative who says Iran's nuclear program is a threat and supports a hard line against the country. Iran insists it is only seeking nuclear energy, while Washington suspects it is seeking a bomb. Teheran has been hit by two rounds of UN sanctions over its nuclear program. Chavez said Europe should be more worried about the possibility that the US might attack Iran, adding that Iran would not take a hypothetical attack lying down. "I'm sure the Iranians would be willing to withstand an attack by the US and ... counterattack," he said. Any such attack would be motivated by a US desire to secure increasingly scarce energy resources, he said. "The United States is like Count Dracula who at six o'clock in the morning has not sucked" any necks, he said. Chavez arrived in Paris from the Iranian capital, Teheran, where he met with President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. The two leaders have come together over their virulent opposition to the United States. Chavez said in Iran that the two countries are "united like a single fist."