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Mon 7 Sep 2009 02:29 AM

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Venezuela to sell Iran 20,000 barrels of petrol per day

Deal with fuel-starved Islamic republic also includes medicine and commerce agreements.

Venezuela is to supply fuel-starved Iran with 20,000 barrels of petrol a day, President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday at the end of a two-day visit to the Islamic republic during which deals were also inked on medicine and commerce."Venezuela has agreed to export 20,000 barrels of petrol daily to Iran from October in a deal worth 800 million dollars," Chavez told reporters in the northeastern city of Mashhad, local media reported.

He gave no indication of the duration of the agreement.

"This amount will be deposited in a fund established in Iran and will be used to finance purchase of machinery and technology from Iran," Chavez added.

"It was also agreed that both sides will within the next 30 days inject 100 million dollars in the joint Iran-Venezuela bank," he said.

Chavez flew earlier Sunday from Tehran to Mashhad, Iran's holiest city and the resting place of Shiite Islam's eighth imam, Imam Reza, in the company of his host President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Because of a lack of domestic refining capacity, oil-rich Iran is dependent on petrol imports to meet about 40 percent of domestic consumption.

US lawmakers have been pushing President Barack Obama to squeeze Iran by targeting its heavy reliance on petrol imports and other refined oil products.

Iran gets most of its petrol imports from the Swiss firm Vitol, the Swiss/Dutch firm Trafigura, France's Total, the Swiss firm Glencore and British Petroleum, as well as the Indian firm Reliance.

Local media quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in Mashhad on Sunday that US policies in South America are "doomed to be defeated."

"I believe that South America is undergoing a political and philosophical revolution. The nations there have awakened and can no longer bear any bullying and if anyone believes that their beliefs can be defeated by military means they are dead wrong," he added.

"I am announcing from here that the US military policies in South America are certainly doomed to be defeated and I advise them to stop bullying."

Chavez and Ahmadinejad held talks in Tehran on Saturday and vowed to back revolutionary nations and form anti-imperialist fronts, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Chavez is a regular visitor to Iran and a key ally of Ahmadinejad, who was re-elected to a four-year term in the June 12 disputed presidential polls. He arrived late Friday in Tehran.

Before flying to Mashhad, Chavez met with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who asked him to help develop economic ties between two nations, Khamenei's office reported.

"Industrial, economic, banking and transportation cooperation between the two nations should increase along with political cooperation," Khamenei told Chavez.

"By boosting cooperation between them, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Venezuela can consolidate the newly-formed independence front," the leader said.

Khamenei also took a swipe at the United States, archfoe of both Iran and Venezuela, saying "successive US losses and the decrease in (Washington's) power shows the undeniable reality that the world is changing."

"The situation is also changing in South America, which used to be the backyard of the United States, since a power has been formed and it is gaining momentum every day," Khamenei said without elaborating.

On his arrival on Friday, the Venezuelan president backed Iran's nuclear programme which world powers suspect is aimed at making atomic weapons - a claim Tehran repeatedly denies.

The United States and five other world powers - Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany - re pressing Iran to accept an offer of face-to-face nuclear talks before a key UN meeting later this month.

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