Venezuela praised bilateral relations with Iran and pledged Wednesday support for Tehran's right to develop nuclear energy be it within the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries or in other international forums.
Venezuelan Ambassador Anibal Gallegos Ramirez speaking in Tehran said Iran's aspirations to develop nuclear energy, and respect for the rights and sovereignty of peoples are in line with those of Venezuela. Caracas rejects the idea of "certain countries" who wish to retain a "monopoly" over the technology and use of nuclear energy.
"We believe Iran, the same as Brazil and Argentina have a right to research and find new energy sources that can help substitute non-renewable resources as those derived from petroleum and gas" underlined Ambassador Gallegos who recalled that President Hugo Chavez recently announced Venezuela will follow the same path for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which he said was "an undeniable right" of nations.
Developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes will necessarily drive Venezuela to a closer collaboration with Iran, pointed out the Ambassador, since the "Islamic revolution of Iran and our Bolivarian revolution are based on similar principles".
However several European countries and United States are not totally convinced of Iran's true intentions and fear Iran could be on the track to build atomic weapons, which has led to serious diplomatic frictions with Tehran.
Describing Venezuela as "a strategic ally of Iran", Gallegos said it was the only country to vote against a resolution from the governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency which opens the way to a possible referral of the Iranian nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council that can impose sanctions on Tehran. Caracas's support of Iran "fundamentally reflects the principles and ideals that inspire the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, which is inspired by values common to the Iranian Islamic Revolution", insisted Ambassador Gallegos.
The two countries share a commitment to "self-determination of peoples, to sovereignty and the technological independence of nations". Finally Ambassador Gallegos said Iran and Venezuela "are founding members of OPEC, and they have much in common".