Ahmadinejad Terms Tehran, La Paz Natural Allies

1ASDSA-2138.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales on Monday their two nations are natural allies and would boost energy ties.

“I admire the wisdom and resistance of the Bolivian nation, which has stood up in the heart of Latin America to defend its freedom, honor and interest,” Ahmadinejad said.

“Iran is interested in expanding relations with Bolivia in all fields,” the Iranian president told Morales.

Ahmadinejad said the two countries could cooperate in the fields of oil, gas, refinery construction, oil exploration, agricultural equipment and dairy plants.

“The two revolutionary nations and the governments of Iran and Bolivia are natural allies and will boost their relations in the fields of commerce, industry, agriculture, gas, oil and politics,” he told Morales on the first day of a two-day trip to Tehran.

“We are striding on a common path towards a brighter future and will remain by each other’s side and supportive of one another under any circumstances,” Ahmadinejad said.

The Iranian president said the two sides would sign cooperation agreements, but did not give details.

For his part, Morales, whose country sits on South America’s second largest gas reserves, said he supports Ahmadinejad.

“I support and praise Mr. Ahmadinejad’s stance against imperialism and defending the rights of the Iranian people,” he said. “I also hail Iranian progress in industry and agriculture.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei also met with Morales and told him that he expected “resistance against arrogant powers” to pay off.

“The awakening of the South American nations who are seeking their rights is an auspicious event which certainly will not make (big) powers happy,” Khamenei told Morales.

“The arrogant powers will put pressure on you since they are against this spirit, but resistance against these pressures and reliance on God will result in victory,” Khamenei added.

Morales, who in 2006 became the first indigenous leader of Bolivia, left La Paz on Friday on a trip to Libya and Iran aimed at reinforcing new diplomatic ties made with the two countries.

Energy-rich La Paz and Tehran established relations in September 2007 when Ahmadinejad made an official trip to Bolivia to sign trade and energy accords. Their growing ties have raised concerns in Washington.

In La Paz, Ahmadinejad and Morales signed a joint statement recognizing “the rights of developing nations to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Within Latin America, Bolivia has aligned itself with Venezuela and Cuba, and rejects US influence in the region.

At the time of the La Paz visit, Iran’s top Latin America diplomat, Safar Ali Eslamian, denied his country was forming an anti-US bloc with Venezuela and Bolivia, two countries that support Tehran’s nuclear program.

Bolivia opened diplomatic ties with Libya in August and Morales visited the North African nation on the weekend.

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