Iran General NewsPresidents of Iran, Nicaragua to meet for talks

Presidents of Iran, Nicaragua to meet for talks

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AFP: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will hold talks Sunday with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on the second stop of a Latin America tour aimed at winning new anti-US allies. MANAGUA, Jan 14, 2007 (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will hold talks Sunday with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on the second stop of a Latin America tour aimed at winning new anti-US allies.

Ahmadinejad arrived here Saturday and, despite the late hour, was met at the airport by Ortega himself and other top Nicaraguan officials.

The two were to meet Sunday for official negotiations, which were expected to produce a raft of economic cooperation agreements in areas ranging from agriculture to crude oil processing.

Ortega, who was the Marxist leader of the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front that ousted US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979, was sworn in as president last Wednesday, promising generous anti-poverty programs.

Analysts said that Iran, flush with oil money, is in a position to help Ortega with his ambitious plans.

“We will try to expand and strengthen ties in our visit to this country and talks with him,” Ahmadinejad said of Ortega before leaving Tehran.

The Iranian leader began his Latin American tour Saturday in Caracas, where he met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, hailing him as an ideological ally.

Tehran and Caracas, said the Iranian president, had the task of “promoting revolutionary thought in the world.”

“The reason for all the current problems is the erroneous direction of the powerful countries, where there is poverty, hate, enmity and war,” he said.

According to the Iranian leader, Western powers were responsible for “discrimination and injustice” and their only concern is “to reap their economic benefits.”

“As two brother peoples and governments, we have the responsibility to promote this clear idea about the world situation,” he said to Chavez.

Chavez, who has been a vocal advocate of Tehran’s nuclear program, said Venezuela and Iran would “continue to act as always with one voice.”

Venezuela remains Iran’s main supporter of its nuclear program. Russia and China recently joined Western powers in approving UN Security Council sanctions against Tehran.

Following their talks, the two presidents of oil-rich countries announced a joint effort to obtain new OPEC oil production cuts that would support slumping world oil prices, which have fallen 14 percent since January 1.

The announcement eclipsed the signing of 11 bilateral agreements, including a deal to create an international oil company.

“We agreed this afternoon to coordinate our forces within OPEC,” said Chavez, the president of the only Latin American member of the 11-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“Today we know that there is too much crude in the market, that’s why we support, we will support the decisions that have been taken to reduce production and protect the price of oil,” he said.

Chavez emphasized that he was sending that message “to all the heads of state in the OPEC countries to continue to strengthen our organization in this direction.”

In an earlier speech to the Venezuelan parliament, Ahmadinejad had praised his host as a “fighter for just causes”, a “brother” and a “revolutionary.”

The Iranian president’s visit, the second to Venezuela in five months, was the first stop in a tour aimed at strengthening ties with anti-US leaders in the region.

Monday, Ahmadinejad and Chavez will attend the inauguration of Ecuador’s new president Rafael Correa, who has pledged to forge stronger ties with Venezuela and allow a lease for a US military airbase on the country’s Pacific Coast to lapse.

The Iranian president will also meet other South American presidents including Bolivia’s Evo Morales on the sidelines of the ceremony in Ecuador, before finishing his tour on Tuesday.

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