Monday, March 14, 2005

Venezuela's Chavez says Iran has 'right' to nuclear program

It looks like Chavez is auditioning for Iraq's spot in the Axis of Evil. This from USA Today:

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez defended Iran on Friday in its dispute with the United States and Europe over its nuclear program, saying Iran has a right to atomic energy.

Chavez, whose country is a leading U.S. oil supplier, announced his stance after meeting Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who declared that both governments will stand "firm against any aggression."

"Iran has every right, like many other countries have done, to develop its atomic energy and continue its research in this field," Chavez said after top officials from both countries signed 20 cooperation agreements in areas from petrochemical projects to agriculture.

"Venezuela and Iran agree in firmly rejecting the imperialist policy of the United States."

Both countries face increasingly tense relations with the Bush administration, which has voiced concerns that Iran could be trying to acquire nuclear arms and has criticized what Chavez's opponents call a drift toward dictatorship. Iran insists its nuclear program is purely for energy uses, and Chavez has accused Washington of backing plots to oust him.

Speaking before Venezuela's congress, Khatami lamented "the injustice of the great powers that try to control the world." He said they include the United States and interfere "in other states under the precept of fighting terrorism and try to force all of humanity to follow their monopoly of power."

"What must be condemned are calls for violence, whether from terrorists or from aggressors with yearnings for domination," Khatami said.

U.S. officials said Friday they will support European diplomatic efforts to end Iran's alleged nuclear weapons ambitions by offering modest economic incentives. The European Union also revealed it will back U.S. calls to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council if it does not scrap programs linked to nuclear arms, such as uranium enrichment.}

What I find particularly hilarious about this is the Iranian's claims that their nuclear program is strictly for "peaceful purposes". They cling to this claim and repeat it every time the issue comes up in the news. I guess if you repeat a lie enough times etc etc. The Iranian's have been offered about a dozen alternative ways to create nuclear power without having the material to create a bomb and they turn it down every time. "Peaceful purposes" my tuckus!


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