Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warmly greeted his close ally Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidential palace in Caracas. The Iranian leader arrived in Venezuela's capital from stops in Brazil, where he attended the United Nations Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, and Bolivia.Chavez and Ahmadinejad vowed to keep building closer ties. The Venezuelan president has expressed solidarity with Iran on its nuclear energy program which Iran insists it's for peaceful purposes.
Caracas and Tehran have signed an estimated five billion dollars worth of trade deals and accords since 2001 including construction projects, car factories and most recently an agreement for Caracas to manufacture unmanned aerial aircrafts better known as drones.The United States has looked at these accords with disapproval and last year put sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company for making deals with Iran's energy sector.Chavez criticized the sanctions against Iran and pledged to continue being Tehran's key ally in Latin America.This is President Ahmadinejad second visit to Venezuela this year. According to Hugo Chavez there have been more than 300 bilateral accords signed by both countries.