US will regret any decision to attack Iran: Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday evening that the US government will definitely regret any decision to attack Iran.

Chavez's remarks came as he addressed a ceremony granting Venezuela's highest emblem, the Liberator Medal, to the visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Caracas Sunday.

Stressing Caracas' full support for Tehran's policies and its stances, Chavez emphasized that "now is the time when free governments and nations of the world should stay united against US imperialism and its bullying."

He urged heads of state and representatives of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states who ended a two-day summit in Havana, Cuba on Sunday to do their part in ending US imperialist and bullying practices.

Reiterating Caracas' support for Tehran's right to use peaceful nuclear energy, the Venezuelan president said the right belongs to all free nations of the world.

He criticized the US for targeting Iran on its nuclear activities when "many other countries also possess nuclear technology." He was confident US imperialism would come to an end "in the present century.

"Iran is presently asserting its independence in all ideological, political, cultural, economic and technological fields," said Chavez, adding that Tehran "does not need any other power (to achieve its goals)."

Responding to the Venezuelan president's citation upon awarding him the Liberator Medal, Ahmadinejad said that Iran and Venezuela are "pioneers in the cause of global independence, freedom and justice."

"The future belongs to the unrelenting and resistant nations of the world and oppressors have no choice but defeat," the Iranian president added.

Ahmadinejad is in Venezuela on the third and final leg of his tri-nation tour which has already taken him to Senegal and Cuba.

He represented Asian states during the 14th NAM Summit in Cuba (Sept 15-16), successfully rallying heads of state and government of 118 developing countries to support Iran's peaceful nuclear program.

NAM member states issued a statement at the end of two-day summit in Havana supporting Tehran's "basic and inalienable right" to pursue peaceful nuclear energy as a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

They also urged the Zionist regime "to accede to the NPT without delay and place promptly all its nuclear facilities under the comprehensive safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

While in Cuba, the president also participated in a meeting of the G-15, a more compact group within the Non-Alligned Movement.

Ahmadinejad's visit to Venezuela is upon the official invitation of his Venezuelan counterpart.

After concluding his two-day Venezuela visit today, he will fly to New York to attend the 61st annual session of the United Nations General Assembly slated to begin tomorrow and end on Sept 27.

He is also scheduled to address the session and meet leaders of various countries on the sidelines of the world gathering.

[Source: Islamic Republic News Agency, Caracas, 18Sep06]

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