Iran says Chavez visit will strengthen ties

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's visit to the country would further strengthen relations between the two nations. Under pressure from the US, Iran and Venezuela have improved their bilateral ties, and Chavez has defended Iran's nuclear development, dismissing US concerns that Tehran is covertly developing weapons. "Political interests and close regional and international stances are among the important factors that help to continue this cooperation, closely," spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini Hosseini told reporters Sunday during his weekly press conference.