Paris, 14 Jan (IPS) In a desperate attempt aimed at creating a new international anti-American front, the Iranian fanatical President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad and his populist “brother” Hugo Chavez of Venezuela decided Saturday 13 January 2007 the creation of a 2 billions US Dollars fund to help poor nations of Latin America and Africa to “liberate” themselves from the US “imperialist yoke”.
"It will permit us to underpin investments ... above all in those countries whose governments are making efforts to liberate themselves from the [U.S.] imperialist yoke", Chavez said.
Iran president goes to the festivities of the Latin Americans at a time that, in order to mobilize nations against the Islamic Republic, the American Foreign Affairs Minister comes to the region.
"This fund, my brother", the Venezuelan president said, referring affectionately to Ahmadi Nezhad, "will become a mechanism for liberation".
The Iranian President described it a "very important" decision that would help promote "joint cooperation in third countries", especially in Latin America and Africa.
However, the trip, which took Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad to Managua and Quito, where he also met with the Bolivian leader Evo Morales, became subject of ferocious criticism at home and satirical articles abroad.
“Our president goes to the festivities of the Latin Americans at a time that, in order to mobilize nations against the Islamic Republic, the American Foreign Affairs Minister comes to the region”, wrote Iran’s veteran satirical journalist Ebrahim Nabavi.
“Is there anyone to ask this gentleman does the entire trade with some of the poorest nations in the world equal the cost of the trip to Latin America? What are our bounds with Venezuela, Nicaragua or Ecuador and Bolivia? Are we neighbours? Do we share same faith? Do we have important trade exchange? What is the motive for such a trip for the president of a country facing international sanctions and military threats, if not Ahmadi Nezhad’s (and not the Islamic Republic) personal egocentrism?”, he wrote in the Farsi-language, pro-reforms internet newspaper Rouz.
In fact, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad left Tehran on Friday night for a tour of three Latin and Central American leftist states at a time that Ms. Condoleezza Rice, the United States State Secretary, or Foreign Affairs Minister departed Washington for the Middle East in the follow up of President George W. Bush’s new Iraq strategy that includes increasing economic, diplomatic and military pressures over Iran, suspected by the United States, Israel and many European and Arab nations of attempting to develop nuclear weapons aimed at annihilating the Jewish State in the one hand and insure Tehran’s position as the super power of the explosive Middle East and the “gendarme” of the Persian Gulf, through which passes 40 per cent of the world’s crude oil.
“This is a new diplomatic battle by proxies waged between Iran and the United States”, commented the centre of right French daily “Le Figaro” on Saturday 13 January 2007, noting that the populist leader of the oil rich Venezuela is one of the few nations in the world that strongly backs Iran’s nuclear activities, which the United States, Israel, many European and Arab nations suspects are geared at developing atomic arms aimed at destroying the Jewish States.
Tehran strongly rejects the accusations, stating that the nuclear technology is for civilian uses only, mostly producing electricity, but in an editorial on 12 January 2007 “analyzing” President Bush’s statement on Iraq, the hard line daily “Keyhan” that usually reflects the views of the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i said: “Bush said little about Syria but a lot about Iran, because Iran has an unequalled influence in the region and at the same time is only a few steps from becoming a nuclear power”.
“With his eyes fixed firmly on the Middle East, the last thing President Bush wants is another hostile diplomatic front opening up in his own backyard. But with the arrival of the Iranian president in the region, that is exactly what some commentators are predicting”, reported the BBC’s Latin America correspondent, adding that, “The most worrying alliance for Washington is that being forged between Iran and Venezuela”.
Iran and Venezuela are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and Chavez said Saturday that they had agreed to back a further oil production cut in the cartel to stem a recent fall in crude prices.
The intrusion of Iran in a region considered as the backyard of the White House is a great victory for Ahmadi Nezhad’s Government.
"We know today there is too much crude in the market", Chavez said. "We have agreed to join our forces within OPEC ... to support a production cut and save the price of oil".
OPEC reduced output by 1.2 million barrels a day in November, then announced an additional cut of 500,000 barrels a day, due to begin on February 1. Dow Jones Newswires reported Friday that OPEC is discussing holding an emergency meeting later this month to reduce output by another 500,000 barrels a day. Venezuela and Iran have been leading price hawks within OPEC.
Chavez presented Ahmadinejad with a Persian translation of a book on Simon Bolivar, the 19th-century Venezuelan founding father. In turn, Chavez received a book on the father of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"Our two revolutions are at heart the same", Chavez said, comparing Iran's overthrow of the Shah with his self-styled socialist movement, which was boosted this week by a slew of nationalizations.
"Iran and Venezuela are two important allies on a global level, the two countries have important industrial and oil projects, which we will follow up in this trip", responded the Iranian President, accusing the US for the injustice and poverty in the developing world. "All this is the work of the superpower", he said.
On Sunday 14 January, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad traveled to Managua, where he was warmly greeted by Mr. Daniel Ortega, the new Nicaraguan leftist president and self-styled “small brother” of Hugo Chavez.
“During his stay in the country, President Ahmadi Nezhad conferred with his Nicaraguan counterpart and the country's high ranking officials on expansion of cooperation between the two countries”, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
On Sunday afternoon, the president arrived in Quito, Ecuador on the last leg of his trip to Latin America and attended the swearing-in ceremony of Ecuador's new president which was also be attended by some heads of state from around the world, including Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who met his Iranian counterpart to discuss possible cooperation with Iran.
Ecuador's new president opposes a free-trade agreement with Washington, arguing it is damaging to Ecuadorian industry.
“That this trip took place immediately after he coming to power of two new governments opposed to the hegemonic policies of the White House, namely Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Rafael Correa in Ecuador in the one hand and the re-election of the leftist Hugo Chavez in Venezuela is very interesting and important”, commented the daily “Keyhan”.
“From the view of political analysts, the intrusion of Iran in a region considered as the exclusive and guarded hunting ground for American officials and the backyard of the White House is a great victory for the diplomacy of Ahmadi Nezhad’s Government”, the daily added.
“The difference of Chavez and Ahmadi Nezhad with Cervantes’ hero is that the legendary Don Quixote was sincere in fighting windmills while our Iranian and Venezuelan Don Quixote are only fooling and betraying their people pretending fighting the United States, the world’s super power that can in one single day annihilate both of them”, observed another Iranian satirist. ENDS IRAN LATIN AMERICA 14107