Ahmadinejad to Chavez: ‘We’re going to be together until the end’
“We feel at home here and among our brothers … we’re going to be together until the end,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez during a visit to Latin America on Wednesday.”
Both leaders roundly denounced US “imperialism,” and Chavez also called Israel “a murderous arm of the Yankee empire.”
Chavez said he had just returned from an unannounced visit to Cuba, where he met with his mentor Fidel Castro as well as President Raul Castro. “They asked me to give you a hug for them,” he told Ahmadinejad.
Also during Ahmadinejad’s visit, the two leaders agreed on the inception of a direct flight route between Teheran and Caracas, according to a report by AFP.
From the Jereusalem Post:
CARACAS – The presidents of Venezuela and Iran, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, respectively, continued consolidating a relationship that the former called “exemplary,” signing new accords and giving speeches defending their cooperation and criticizing the United States.
In a signing ceremony for several joint projects at Miraflores Palace, the two leaders agreed that “accusations of violence” against them were a “joke” before confirming that their cooperation was designed to “build (a good) life” for their people and denouncing Washington’s responsibility in conflicts and crisis situations around the world.
“In truth, it seems like a joke that they are accusing us of violence,” asserted Chavez, echoing the words spoken shortly before that by his Iranian counterpart.
The two men responded to U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, who had said that he hoped that Caracas would emphasize to Ahmadinejad “the concerns that the international community has regarding his nuclear program, his presumed support for terrorism and the situation of human rights.”
The Iranian leader said that the true concern lies in “the nuclear and chemical arsenals,” as well as the repeated “threats of military invasion,” referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On numerous occasions during the more than three hours that the ceremony lasted, both men denounced those who “are attacking” them, a clear allusion to the United States, which they called the “Yankee empire,” and they confirmed that the cooperation of their two countries is being pursued in the “service of the people.”
At the ceremony at Miraflores, which ended about 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Chavez and Ahmadinejad presided at the signing of 12 cooperation agreements in the areas of energy, transportation and housing, among others, after holding a meeting behind closed doors for more than three hours.