Iran unveil anti-US fund
By Al Jazeera
Jazeera" -- -- The presidents of Iran and
Venezuela have agreed to spend billions of dollars to
help other countries free themselves from what they
describe as US domination.
Hugo Chavez announced the plan in a speech on Saturday
with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The two also called for Opec to cut oil production to
support falling crude prices.
They had previously announced plans to establish a joint
$2bn fund for projects in Venezuela and Iran but on
Saturday they said that the money would also be used to
help friendly third countries.
"This fund, my brother," Chavez said, "will become a
mechanism for liberation."
Chavez said the fund "will permit us to underpin
investments ... above all in those countries whose
governments are making efforts to liberate themselves
from the [US] imperialist yoke ... Death to US
Ahmadinejad, who is on a tour of Latin America, said
that Tehran and Caracas had the task of "promoting
revolutionary thought in the world".
"The reason for all the current problems is the
erroneous direction of the powerful countries, where
there is poverty, hate, enmity and war," he added.
The two presidents announced that they would make a
joint effort to obtain new oil production cuts.
"Today we know that there is too much crude in the
market, that's why we support ... the decisions that
have been taken to reduce production and protect the
price of oil," Chavez said.
He emphasised that he was sending the message "to all
the heads of state in the Opec countries to continue to
strengthen our organisation in this direction".
Members of the 11-nation Organisation of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (Opec) have expressed concern about
the falling price of oil, which has slid 14 per cent
since the start of the year.
Ahmadinejad has praised Chavez for his outspoken support
of Iran's nuclear programme, which the US and European
governments say may be part of a project to build atomic
Facing the threat of international isolation and
sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council over its
uranium enrichment work, Iran is keen to demonstrate it
has backing among a number of leaders in Latin America.
Chavez is the most vocal supporter in Latin America for
Iran and its president, with both men calling each other
"brother" and relishing their status as fierce opponents
of Washington's influence.
"Hugo is my brother," Ahmadinejad said during his last
visit to Venezuela in September. "Hugo is the champion
of the fight against imperialism."
In September 2005, Venezuela was alone in opposing a
resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
that found Iran in violation of nuclear safeguards.
Chavez has since backed Iran's right to enrich uranium.
Iran and Venezuela are both important players in Opec
and have signed numerous co-operation agreements in the
energy sector and other fields.
During a visit to Iran last September, Chavez came out
in support of Iran's nuclear programme, as well as
denouncing Israeli military operations in Lebanon.
The two presidents also signed deals covering iron and
steel production, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and
health care equipment and munitions.
While Ahmadinejad seeks to cultivate Latin American
allies, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, is
in the Middle East to rally Arab support for a new US
strategy in Iraq and counter Iran's alleged
"interference" in Iraq.
Ahmadinejad arrived in Nicaragua late on Saturday, where
Daniel Ortega has just returned to power. The Iranian
president was met at the airport by the new Nicaraguan
On Monday, Ahmadinejad will take part in the swearing-in
ceremony of Ecuador's new president Rafael Correa, who
has vowed to forge stronger ties with Venezuela and not
to renew a lease for a US military air base on the
country's Pacific coast.
The Iranian president will also hold meetings with other
South American presidents including Bolivia's Evo
Morales on the sidelines of the ceremony in Ecuador,
before finishing his tour on Tuesday.