Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has praised Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his opposition to the United States, and says Iran and Venezuela have common thoughts, objectives and interests.
Mr. Ahmadinejad made his comments Sunday after arriving in Venezuela for a two-day visit.
Both leaders just attended the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Cuba that ended with a declaration supporting Iran's right to peacefully use nuclear technology. On Sunday, Mr. Chavez said Iran is not using its nuclear program to create weapons, and called on the U.S. to destroy its arsenal.
Venezuelan and Iranian officials signed more than 30 cooperation agreements Sunday, including one that creates a $2 billion fund to finance joint energy projects.
Both countries are major oil producers and members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Chavez will attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week. Iran supports Venezuela's desire for a rotating seat on the 15-nation U.N. Security Council. Washington is opposed.
Mr. Chavez and Mr. Ahmadinejad are vocal critics of the United States. The Bush administration has labeled Mr. Chavez as a destabilizing factor in Latin America, and accuses Mr. Ahmadinejad of trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran has ignored a July 31 U.N. resolution ordering it to stop enriching uranium. The Non-Alignment Movement summit declaration called on Tehran to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear regulator.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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