Chávez and Ahmadinejad Call for Breaking Free from Free Trade

The presidents of Venezuela and Iran met on Thursday at the presidential palace in Tehran, where they agreed on the need to make a systemic change that allows countries to break free from free trade and promote fair trade and complementary relations between countries.

The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, agreed on Thursday that the financial crisis is also a spiritual crisis and called for a systemic change to allow countries to break free from free trade.

The two leaders got together on Thursday at the presidential palace in Tehran, on the first day of an official visit that both countries characterize as “strategic.”

“I believe the current crisis goes beyond an economic crisis.  It is especially a moral and spiritual crisis,” said President Chávez during the first working meeting between the two delegations.

“It’s like a cancer that has spread and affects relations among people,” he added.

Presidents Hugo Chávez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that the best prescription for the crisis is to establish another kind of relations between countries, exemplified by “the close and deep cooperation” between Iran and Venezuela.

“Our countries must strengthen our trade alliance to liberate ourselves from free trade and create fair trade in which we complement each other,” said President Chávez.

President Ahmadinejad stressed that “now that the world is changing, the bilateral relations between Iran and Venezuela should be a model of fraternal and constructive relationship for other countries in the world.”

President Hugo Chávez began a three-day official visit to Iran on Thursday within the framework of a tour that started in Qatar and will continue to China and Japan.

According to the Minister of Basic Industries and Mining, Rodolfo Sanz, this is a strategic journey that leads to an “investment” in the future.

The Venezuelan president was received by his Iranian counterpart in the garden of the presidential palace in Tehran, where they had a long and friendly talk before listening to the national anthems and reviewing the troops.

Then, the two delegations met for about two hours to set the agenda and begin political discussions and projects of cooperation.

The highlight of President Chavez’s seventh visit to Iran will take place this Friday, with the inauguration of the first Iranian-Venezuelan bi-national bank.

The bank, designed as an alternative to the international financial crisis, will have a capital of 1.6 billion dollars, from the Iran-Venezuela Fund.

The two leaders also reviewed various scientific, agricultural, energy, and industrial cooperation projects.

Among the energy projects is a plan to study the construction of two refineries based on joint capital, one in Venezuela and the other in Iran, a topic discussed in depth by the ministers in charge of energy, Rafael Ramírez and Gholam Hossein Nozari respectively.

On Saturday, according to the still provisional agenda, President Chávez will visit several industrial development projects in the pharmaceutical and food production sectors.

Iran is expected to thank President Chávez for his gesture towards the Palestinian people during the last Israeli offensive against Gaza.

The provisional agenda of President Chávez should include a meeting, possibly on Saturday, with the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, before his departure for the Far East.

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See, also, “President Chávez Begins His Seventh Visit to Iran”:

The original article “Chávez y Ahmadineyad abogan por desligarse del libre comercio” was published by YVKE Mundial on 2 April 2009.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at]