Ahmadinejad claims Chavez fell "martyr" to "suspect illness"
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has backed claims made by the Venezuelan Vice President that Chavez was somehow 'attacked' by his enemies
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has backed claims initially made by Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, that Chavez's enemies somehow afflicted him with the cancer that killed him.
The long-time ally of the Venezuelan firebrand echoed Maduro's bizarre conspiracy theory, claiming that Chavez had fallen "martyr" to what he described as a "suspect illness".
"He finally died from a suspect illness and he gave his life... to the elevation of his country and the freedom of his people," said Ahmadinejad. "Venezuela lost its brave, strong son and the world lost a wise and revolutionary leader", he added.
Ahmadinejad also stated: "I have no doubt that he will return, along with the righteous Jesus and the perfect human", reports the Daily Star Lebanon.
Earlier, Nicolas Maduro (Chavez's heir apparent) had boldly stated: “We have not a single doubt and at the proper moment we will convene a medical board to confirm that Chavez was attacked," likening Chavez’s case with that of Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, whose death, Maduro said, was caused by poisoning by the Israelis.
The relationship between Ahmadinejad's Iran and Chavez's Venezuela had grown steadily over recent years, with both leaders sharing virulent anti-American, anti-Israeli, and anti-Jewish sentiments. Billions of dollars in investment agreements have been signed between the states.
Iran's increased presence in the Western hemisphere, largely facilitated by Venezuela's hospitality, has become a concern for U.S. national security in particular.
Last September, it was reported that police in La Paz, Bolivia, had seized two tons of minerals suitable for nuclear reactors and missile parts. Export of these minerals to Iran is prohibited by current sanction regimes. It is believed that the plan was to send the mineral cargo to Iran via Venezuela. Hezbollah has also been widely suspected, by many analysts, of having a presence in the Latin American state.
Iranian state news agency IRNA has reported that Ahmadinejad may attend Chavez's funeral on Friday.
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