Caracas: Visiting Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Thursday evening said Iran and Venezuela were not pursuing a covert plan to form a strategic alliance against any third country, nor do they intend to undermine the interests of others.
Speaking at a meeting with Iranian expatriates living in Caracas, Khatami said there is a unity between the nations and governments of Iran and Venezuela, adding that this unity will inevitably reduce the influence of certain world powers.
Stressing that close relations between Tehran and Caracas will never harm any country, he said cooperation between Iran and Venezuela will be beneficial to both sides, and can serve as a model cooperation between countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
Khatami described as “wrong,” U.S. policy to launch a military attack against Iraq, and said that those who think they can impose their hegemony upon other nations are mistaken.
He said U.S. officials should revise their policies toward Iraq and consider reality.
Khatami said invading Iraq and killing so many civilians were not a proper method of terminating Saddam Hussein’s rule, even through the Iraqi people were dissatisfied with his regime.
He said the U.S. government is spending billions of dollars of taxes paid by the America people on the campaign in Iraq, and said Americans have already sensed that the money they are paying is being spent essentially for having U.S. soldiers killed there.
“Just as we disapprove of the killing of Iraqi men, women and children, we are also dissatisfied with the deaths of Iraqi soldiers,” the Iranian president added.
Khatami referred to Venezuela’s oil reserves and its special status in the Latin America, as well as Iran’s strategic position in the Middle East, and said that mutual relations would secure the interests of both countries.
He declared Iran’s readiness transfer its expertise in various fields to Venezuela, and noted the significance of entering the Venezuelan market.
Khatami reiterated the need to encourage private sector participation in each other’s markets.
Concerning the recent referendum in Venezuela and the victory of President Hugo Chavez, he said that a big public turnout at the polls resulted in the failure of foreign interference to influence the voting, and to pull off the coup attempted against his leadership.
He urged the need to establish democracy, noted that this would not be easily achieved, and that it would require time and patience to accomplish.