Iran's President Ahmadinejad arrives in Venezuela


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began his Latin American tour in Venezuela today, where he will meet with President Hugo Chavez.


Atta Kenare

President Ahmadinejad arrived in Venezuela to meet with President Chavez today, Reuters reported. 

Iran's president is in Caracas to begin his tour of Latin America, where he hopes to reign in support from the region's leaders in the face of tough new Western sanctions. 

This will be Ahmadinejad's fifth visit to Venezuela, and he and Chavez will travel together to Nicaragua for the inauguration of newly re-elected President Daniel Ortega on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. The Iranian leader will also visit Cuba and Ecuador. 

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The visit comes as the United States cautioned against countries making any ties with Iran.

On New Year's eve, President Obama signed new legislation that will make it more difficult for most countries to buy Iranian oil, and the European Union is expected to announce a similar ban by the end of this month, according to Reuters. 

"We are making absolutely clear to countries around the world that now is not the time to be deepening ties, not security ties, not economic ties, with Iran," a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said on Friday, according to Reuters. 

Chavez may support Iran as they threatened to close the world's most important oil shipping lane, the Strait of Hormuz, but it is unclear how much he will help. The Venezuelan leader has threatened to stop oil exports to the United States, but has never actually done so, according to Reuters.

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"A spokesman or spokeswoman in Washington from the State Department or the White House said it was not convenient for any country to get close to Iran. Well, the truth is, it made you laugh," Chavez said in a televised speech. "They're not going to be able to dominate this world. Forget about it Obama, forget about it. It would be better to think about the problems in your country, which are many." 

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