Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez congratulated his Iranian counterpart President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's landslide victory in a telephone conversation, arguing, "Your high vote secured Iran's legitimacy at international scene." Expressing his delight over President-elect Ahmadinejad's victory, Chavez added, "My government is determined to continue Venezuela's comprehensive cooperation with Iran."Closer cooperation between Caracas and Teheran did not begin with Ahmadinejad's election, since it had long been part of Chávez's efforts to diminish Venezuela's dependence on the United States as its primary energy export market (e.g., Andy Webb-Vidal, "Venezuela Enlists Iran to Steer Oil to China," Financial Times, 31 Jan. 2005), diversify its trade partners (e.g., "Iran and Venezuela Sign Contracts Valued at the Equivalent of over US$1 Billion," VHeadline.com, 11 Mar. 2005; "Iran-Venezuela-Exports: Tractor Parts Shipped to Venezuela, Sunday," VHeadline.com, 18 Apr. 2005; and "Iran-Venezuela-Trade: Iran, Venezuela Discuss Agriculture Trade," VHeadline.com, 18 Apr. 2005), and support the right of self-determination (e.g., "Chavez Backs Iran's Nuclear Goals," Al Jazeera, 12 Mar. 2005). Caracas and Teheran are said to be both price hawks when it comes to oil (Oxford Analytica, "The Geopolitical Influence on Oil Prices," Forbes, 24 Mar. 2005; and "Oil in Troubled Waters," Economist, 28 Apr. 2005), which is another tie that binds.
The Venezuelan leader meanwhile considered the expansion of bilateral ties as a need, and asked for reviewing the two countries' already signed agreements and seeing into their proper implementation as a mutual necessity.
He added, "I would be glad to dispatch to Tehran a high ranking Venezuelan delegation to attend your excellency's Oath Taking Ceremony."
According to the report by president elect's office, Ahmadinejad, too, in the phone talk appreciate President Chavez for his kind congratulation contact, adding, "My government would continue the Islamic Republic's basic policy in expansion of relations with Venezuela, as a friend and brother nation."
Dr. Ahmadinejad meanwhile invited President Chavez to visit Iran in near future to exchange viewpoints on bilateral and international issues.
The Iranian president elect emphasized, "Your excellency's state visit to Tehran would mark a turning point in our two nations' relations, and accelerate the process of the reached agreements' implementation." ("Chavez: Ahmadinejad's Landslide Victory Secured Iran's Legitimacy Worldwide," Islamic Republic News Agency, 28 Jun. 2005)
Nonetheless, Ahmadinejad, in terms of his economic program and base of political support, has much more in common with Chávez than Mohammad Khatami, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mostafa Moin, and other elite "reformists" do with the Bolivarian revolutionary. Chávez's public salute to Ahmadinejad -- that the president elect of Iran is "a very young man who is committed to his people and struggles for sovereignty and self-determination" and that the Iranian people should be congratulated for "faith in their revolution and democracy that they have shown" -- suggests as much:
El presidente de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, conversó este lunes, vía telefónica, con Mahmud Ahmadinejad, mandatario recién electo de la República Islámica de Irán.Watch how their relationship will develop.
En el acto de entrega del Premio Nacional de Periodismo, el jefe de Estado saludó públicamente al presidente electo de Irán, "y lo voy a hacer a nombre de todo el pueblo venezolano", dijo al referirse a Ahmadinejad como "un hombre muy joven y comprometido con su pueblo y por las luchas por la soberanía y la autodeterminación".
El mandatario venezolano conoció al actual presidente iraní en la última visita oficial que realizó a Teherán, cuando inauguró la Plaza Bolívar en esa ciudad, para entonces Ahmadinejad era el alcalde de la capital iraní.
"Aprovecho para felicitar al pueblo iraní y a la demostración que han dado de fe en su revolución y en su democracia", agregó Hugo Chávez al señalar el respeto que tiene al modelo de gobierno iraní, porque "nadie puede exigirles que adopten otro sistema democrático, como el norteamericano, por ejemplo". (emphasis added, Prensa Presidencial, "Venezuela saluda al nuevo presidente de Irán," 28 Jun. 2005)