Venezuela, Iran to Explore Joint Shipbuilding Operation

Monday, December 12, 2005
Reports have indicated that Venezuela and Iran have agreed to explore setting up a joint shipbuilding operation in the South American country, state-run Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) said. The preliminary agreement signed last week envisions jointly building oil tankers, liquid natural gas tankers and other vessels, and training Venezuelans in shipbuilding technology. The deal was signed last week in Caracas between PDVSA and Sadra Iran Marine Industrial Company, PDVSA said Friday. Ties between the two oil-producing countries have tightened as President Hugo Chávez has sought to build international alliances to counter U.S. economic and political dominance. Chávez, a self-defined socialist revolutionary, frequently accuses the U.S. government of wanting to overthrow him. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has clashed with Iran over its nuclear program and described the country as part of an “axis of evil.” The two governments have signed dozens of agreements, including plans for a cement company, an auto parts plant and a project to build 10,000 homes in Venezuela. Last Monday, they agreed to jointly survey and certify heavy crude deposits in Venezuela’s oil-rich Orinoco river belt. Venezuela and Iran are both members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and have consistently backed efforts to bolster prices by controlling production volumes.

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