Zarif Supports Good Rapport With Venezuela

Zarif Supports Good Rapport With Venezuela  Zarif Supports Good Rapport With Venezuela

Iranian business leaders and economic officials discussed ways to develop economic cooperation with their Venezuelan counterparts.

The talks were held during a joint economic forum in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Saturday, IRNA reported.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was on a Latin American tour at the head of a high-powered delegation, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Delcy Rodriguez, took part in the opening session of the conference and delivered speeches.

Zarif said Iran will continue to maintain "warm and friendly" relations with Venezuela, which are rooted in the two countries' "independence-seeking" ideals.

"Over the years, the Iranian and Venezuelan nations have resisted foreign pressure and hegemonic powers, and have established  a good rapport with each other," he said.

"This close political relation can be strengthened by expanding the economic cooperation that has been established in recent years."

The top Iranian diplomat said the high-level presence of Venezuelan officials in the conference, with two vice-presidents and six cabinet ministers, indicates the importance "our brotherly government" attaches to its Iran ties.

Zarif said members of the Iranian delegation are government officials from banking, shipping, petrochemicals, agriculture, oil, energy and other sectors, along with private sector representatives from agriculture, electricity generation, petrochemicals, food, drug, science and technology fields.

"They are ready to discuss cooperation issues with their Venezuelan counterparts," Zarif said.

Rodriguez said close relations between the two countries are the legacy of the late president Hugo Chavez.

"We have strong bonds of friendship with each other that we should strengthen," he said.

***Remarkable Progress

Earlier in the day, Zarif held a meeting with President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, after which they held a press conference.

Maduro praised Iran's "stunning" advances in various fields of science, describing Tehran as a "peaceful power".

"Unlike the US and western powers which use their might [to create] war, conflict, massacre and steal other nations' resources, Iran is the power of peace, calm and construction," he said.

"'In the 21th century, Iran is an emerging power not only in West Asia, but in the global arena, with which we should develop strategic relations."

Maduro touched on bilateral relations, saying a joint commission will be formed to follow up on the implementation of economic agreements signed between the two countries.

He also called for mutual efforts to define new potential areas for economic cooperation.

Zarif said Iran is ready to take its economic and trade relations with Venezuela to a higher level.  

The South American state was the final destination of a six-country, six-day Latin American tour that kicked off last Sunday.

The Iranian delegation arrived in Cuba on Sunday, visited Nicaragua on Monday and Ecuador on Tuesday, headed to Chile on Wednesday and traveled to Bolivia on Thursday, before flying to Venezuela on Friday.

Zarif departed Caracas for Tehran early on Sunday.