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IRAN: Anti-American axis tightens business and military ties

October 5, 2008 |  9:31 am


Talk about provocative.

Not only did Venezuela's foreign minister reiterate today that Russia and his nation would conduct joint war games in Caribbean waters just a few hundred miles from America's shores later this year, he also chose an interesting venue to emphasize the news, just as Russian ships entered the Atlantic Ocean: the Islamic Republic of Iran, where he was hobnobbing with top Iranian officials.

At a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki today, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told reporters that in November and December 2008, a contingent of the Russian fleet will come to Venezuelan waters to conduct war exercises.

He also said that Iran and Venezuela were tightening bilateral relations "on a daily basis" in order to become role models for other developing countries (and, presumably, any country with an ax to grind against the U.S.).

"We have lots of industrial, petrochemical and manufacturing relations with Iran," Maduro told reporters. "We produce Iranian tractors in Venezuela and sell the tractors to Honduras, Haiti and Nicaragua."

He also said Iran was building a cement plant in Venezuela and the two countries were seeking to open a joint investment fund and bank.

Maduro, whose oil-ruch country is led by the populist Hugo Chavez, blamed America's economic troubles on the same neoliberal financial policies that he says brought Latin America to the edge of economic ruin over the last couple of decades.

"The imperialistic monetary policy has been imposed since the 1970s, and now it is clear that it has failed," he said.

Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Photo: Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, left, greets his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki in Tehran today. Credit: Jamal Salehi / Islamic Republic News Agency

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