TEHRAN (Reuters) - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Venezuelan counterpart on Wednesday they would defeat their common foes, the latest defiant salvo against Western countries that he says are failing in their attempts to isolate Iran.
At the end of a two-day visit, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned military threats against Iran which the United States and Israel have said they could strike to prevent it getting a nuclear bomb.
The visit by Iran’s long time ally comes a week after Ahmadinejad received a warm reception in Lebanon -- home to the militant Shi‘ite group Hezbollah. Both diplomatic events are partly aimed to show Washington that Iran still has friends around the world who are willing to confront U.S. interests.
“I should use the opportunity to condemn those military threats that are being made against Iran,” Chavez told a news conference in which the two leaders called each other “brother.”
“We know that they will never be able to restrict the Islamic revolution in whatever way ... We will always stand together, we will not only resist we will also stand victorious beside one another.”
The countries have more than their dislike of the United States in common; they are also OPEC members whose valuable oil exports allow them a certain diplomatic muscle despite being viewed with suspicion in the West.
Chavez said they signed several new agreements aimed at boosting industrial cooperation.
In words which showed his ambition to represent developing countries that feel oppressed by the West, Ahmadinejad said Iran and Venezuela was part of a revolutionary front from Latin America “stretching all the way to East Asia.”
“If one day, my brother Mr Chavez and I and a few other people were once alone in the world, today we have a long line of revolutionary officials and people standing alongside each other,” he said.
“The enemies of our nations will go one day. This is the promise of God and the promise of God will definitely be fulfilled,” said Ahmadinejad in a comment likely to be seen by Israel as a threat from someone who has often said the Jewish state will one day cease to exist.
Washington led a push for tougher sanctions against Iran to pressure it the over nuclear activities it fears are aimed at making a bomb. Iran says it merely seeks peaceful nuclear technology and accuses its foes of trying to stop it progress.
Following in Iran’s footsteps, before coming to Tehran, Chavez secured a deal with Russia to help build Venezuela’s first nuclear power plant, a move which has rattled some people in Washington.
Iran hopes its own Russian-built nuclear power station will start adding power to the grid early next year.
Many countries view Iran’s nuclear activities with suspicion, particularly as it is enriching uranium to much higher purity than is needed for power generation.
Iran says it needs the more potent fuel for a medical reactor in Tehran and confirmed earlier on Wednesday that it was pushing ahead with enrichment.