by David Bedein
The Middle East Newsline reports Iran has reached an agreement intended to turn Venezuela into a major defense client.
Iran and Venezuela have signed several agreements meant to bolster defense and military cooperation. The accords call for Iran to train Venezuela’s military, as well as for Iran to export missiles and other weapons systems to the South American state.
“This is a long-term plan,” Iranian Defense Minister Mustafa Najar said.
On April 29, Mr. Najar concluded a three-day visit to Caracas where he met government and military leaders. Officials said Mr. Najar led a large delegation from his ministry as well as the Iranian military.
“Cooperation with Venezuela has experienced a leap that we’re seeking to accelerate in this visit,” Mr. Najar said.
Relations between Iran and Venezuela have developed rapidly over the last three years under President Hugo Chavez.
Iran has sent military delegations as well as Defense Ministry staffers to brief Venezuela on the latest weapons developed by Tehran.
Iran has reported defense exports to about 55 nations. Officials said the exports included that of missiles, mortars, armored vehicle platforms and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
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