Venezuela and Iran agree to boost cooperation

7 hours ago

CARACAS (AFP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have agreed by telephone to meet soon to boost cooperation on several levels, the Venezuelan foreign ministry said .

"Presidents Ahmadinejad and Chavez agreed to meet as soon as possible to continue boosting their industrial, scientific and technological development plans in benefit of their two nations," the ministry said in a statement Sunday.

The two leaders have often met, the last time was in November in Tehran. They share a profound hatred of the United States and both their countries are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

In their telephone conversation, Ahmadinejad congratulated Chavez for Venezuela's "victory over ExxonMobil, and ratified his solidarity with Venezuela's fight to secure its natural resources," the foreign ministry said.

A London judge in March lifted a freeze on 12 billion dollars in global assets of Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA ExxonMobil had requested as compensation for a Venezuelan 2006 law forcing foreign oil companies to give PDVSA at least a 60 percent share in their operations at oil fields in the Orinoco basin.