Presenting an “axis of unity” against the United States – the presidents of Venezuela and Iran have launched construction on a joint petrochemical plant. Hugo Chavez, who wants to forge an alliance of leftist states to counter US policies, told his Iranian counterpart their countries should cooperate to defeat US imperialism. “The barbarians are those who assault Iraq and destroy it, the way they continue to destroy the Iraqi people today,” Chavez told the crowd.
The complex, located some 1,300 kilometers south of Tehran, is scheduled to produce more than 1.6 million tons of methanol. The two oil-rich countries have signed a large number of trade agreements in recent years, but both face considerable economic challenges.
Although Iran has the world’s second-largest oil and gas reserves, US-led efforts to isolate it over its nuclear ambitions are hurting investment in the sector. And Venezuela, one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, threw out two US oil majors last week in a move economists warn will scare off investors.